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Top water officials in Arizona cautiously optimistic about Colorado River supplies this year

A diversion canal off the Colorado River in southern Arizona.
Kirk Siegler/NPR
A diversion canal off the Colorado River in southern Arizona.

By Alex Hager

Much of Arizona’s water comes from melted snow in the Rocky Mountains, hundreds of miles away.

There was a lot of that snow this winter, a positive change after a string of dry years. Arizona’s water director Tom Buschatzke says conservation is still important for the nation’s two largest reservoirs. 

We can be right back down into some serious issues if we don’t do the things we need to do to protect both Lake Powell and Lake Mead.

Buschatzke said negotiations about water cutbacks are still ongoing between the seven states that share the river’s water, but said he wasn’t ready to provide any updates.

As KUNC’s reporter covering the Colorado River Basin, I dig into stories that show how water issues can both unite and divide communities throughout the Western U.S. I produce feature stories for KUNC and a network of public media stations in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, California and Nevada.