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Feds say Arizona must use 21% less water

Lisa Sturgis/KAWC

Yuma, Ariz. (KAWC) - The federal government announced today how much, or how little, water Arizona will have access to in 2023.

In 2022, The U-S Department of the Interior told the state to use 18 percent less water.

Next year, it’ll have to cut back by another three percent, for a total of 21 percent less than normal allocations.

Nevada will need to conserve another eight percent...

And the country of Mexico will need to save another seven percent next year.

California, the largest water user in the Colorado River Basin, will not face any cuts.

Nor will New Mexico, Colorado, Utah or Wyoming.

However, the government is calling on the entire basin to enact drastic conservation measures.

“We are taking steps to protect the 40 million people who depend on the Colorado River for their lives and livelihoods,” said Camille Touton, commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation in the statement announcing the cuts.

The reductions come in response to the 23-year drought afflicting the West.

They’re based on a plan the seven states, and Mexico, signed in 2019 to help maintain reservoir levels.

The depleted Colorado River can no longer fill Lake Mead and Lake Powell.

Both are at their lowest levels since their creation.

Once they dip below a certain point, their water will no longer feed the turbines at the Hoover and Glen Canyon Dams, and that will leave millions of people without power.

Lisa Sturgis’ return to KAWC brings her journalistic career full circle. Uncle Bob Hardy gave Lisa her first exposures to reporting back in the 1980s. She went on to spend more than three decades in TV news before making the decision to come home to NPR.
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