The federal government has declared an unprecedented water crisis on the Colorado River, which provides water to almost 40 million people in the Southwest. News is provided by CBS News’ national environmental correspondent, Ben Tracy.
For the first time ever, Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada are required to reduce their Lake Mead water use starting in the new year after the federal government declared a Tier 2a water shortage. California, the river’s greatest water user, decided not to make any modifications, thus Arizona, Nevada, and Mexico will all need to lower their water withdrawals by 21%, 8%, and 7%, respectively.
“Last year, the federal government issued a first-of-its-kind Tier 1 shortage declaration for operations along the Colorado River. Due to that declaration’s demand that Nevada, Mexico, and Arizona restrict their water consumption from the river in accordance with a drought contingency plan agreed back in 2019, Arizona suffered the most and had to scale back water delivery to its cotton and alfalfa farmers. The latest Tier 2a declaration places more cuts on the same states, with Arizona once again being the worst-hit. The state will now lose an extra 80,000 acre-feet of water, or one-fifth of its overall allotment, in addition to the 500,000 acre-feet it lost in the previous round. (An acre-foot is equal to about 320,000 gallons.
Teirstein, Z. (2022, August 16). Federal government announces historic water cuts as Colorado River falls to new lows. Grist. Retrieved December 28, 2022, from https://grist.org/politics/federal-government-announces-historic-water-cuts-as-colorado-river-falls-to-new-lows/
Ramirez, E. N. (2022, August 16). New water cuts coming for Southwest as Colorado River falls into Tier 2 shortage | CNN. CNN. Retrieved December 28, 2022, from https://www.cnn.com/2022/08/16/us/colorado-river-water-cuts-lake-mead-negotiations-climate/index.html