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Drought-hit western US hits water outages again, tougher restrictions expected

Salt Lake City — For the second year in a row, Arizona and Nevada face reductions in the amount of water they can extract from the Colorado River as . West will enduret more drought, federal officials said Tuesday.

Cuts planned for next year will force states to make important decisions about where to cut consumption and whether to prioritize growing cities or agricultural areas. Mexico will also face cuts.

But these cuts are only a fraction of the pain that could come to her 40 million Americans in her seven river-dependent states. The state failed to respond to a federal ultimatum to find ways to reduce water use by at least 15%, prompting the government to say it was necessary to prevent reservoirs from depleting and becoming unpumpable. It could face even more significant cuts, he said.

"Statewide, we have not identified and adopted specific actions on a scale large enough to stabilize the system," said Reclamation Service Director Camille Touton.

According to federal officials, Arizona and Nevada will be limited in the amount of water they can draw from the Colorado River for the second year in a row due to droughts.
AP Photo/John Locher

Combined, deadline delays and cuts resulted inthat supply water to growing cities and farms are under new pressure to plan for a hotter, drier future and a growing population.

} Touton says a further 15% cut is needed to ensure uninterrupted water supplies and hydropower. She was noncommittal on Tuesday about whether she plans to unilaterally impose cuts if states are unable to reach an agreement.

She said federal officials and seven states and Mexican parties, but did not reiterate how long it would take to reach the agreement the state requested in June.

For many years cities and farms have drained more water from the river than it does, depleting the reservoirs and how the river splits as the water runs out.

After more than two decades of drought, Arizona, Nevada and Mexico experienced their first forced logging last year. Some farmers in the area are being rewarded to let their farmlands fallow, and residents of growing cities are receiving protective measures, such as limiting lawn use.

The water level at Lake Mead amid historic droughts in the Western US.
AP Photo/John Locher

But previous efforts have fallen short. . Lake Mead , the nation's largest man-made reservoir, has dropped so lowthat it is now less than a quarter full and not enough water is flowing to generate hydroelectric power. Dangerously close. Hoover Dam on the border of Nevada and Arizona.

For officials in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, calls for cuts and additional cuts present new challenges and unpopular options. I'm here. Officials have been reluctant to propose tougher water rationing measures or development restrictions.

Arizona officials, who put last year's burden on the agricultural industry, must decide whether to extend this year's logging to growing cities such as Scottsdale and Peoria that depend on the Colorado River. No. Two cities get more than half of their water from Colorado.

Logging is not expected to have a tangible impact in Nevada, which already has some of the most aggressive conservation policies in the region, including grass bans and rebate programs.

Scorching temperatures and less snowmelt in the spring have reduced the amount of water flowing out of the Rockies before the river meanders 1,450 miles (2,334 km) to the southwest and empties into the Gulf of California.

Already, a special Action taken . The lake's water flows through the Glen Canyon Dam, producing enough electricity to power 1-1.5 million homes each year.

After Lake Powell water levels reached levels low enough to threaten hydroelectric production, federal officials said they would withhold some water to allow the dam to still produce energy. rice field. Its waters usually flow into Lake Mead.

A formally sunken boat at the bottom of Lake Mead in Boulder City, Nevada.
AP Photo/John Locher

Tuesday's cuts left Arizona slightly behind It did so this year when 18% of the supply was cut which would result in a lot of water loss. In 2023, it will lose another 3%, for a total reduction of 21% from its original allocation.

Tom Buschatzke, director of the state's water resources agency, said he was disappointed that the state would not commit to the necessary cuts because Arizona endures it every year.

"It is unacceptable for Arizona to continue to bear the disproportionate burden of reductions for the benefit of others who have not donated," he said in a statement.

Mexico will lose 7% of her water it receives from rivers each year. It fell about 5% last year. Water is the lifeblood of the northern desert cities, including Tijuana, and the large agricultural industries of the Mexicali Valley, just south of California's Imperial Valley border.

Nevada will also lose about 8% of its water supply, but most residents will not feel the effects. That's because the state reuses most of the water it uses indoors and doesn't use all of its allotted water. Last year the state lost 7%.