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Reporting on science, technology and innovation in Arizona and the Southwest through a collaboration from Arizona NPR member stations. This project is funded in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.Additional stories from the Arizona Science Desk are posted at our collaborating station, KJZZ: http://kjzz.org/science

AZ Conservation Deals Seek to Prevent Lake Mead Shortages

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Andrew Cattoir
/
National Park Service
Boulder Basin at Lake Mead

Water levels in Lake Mead, which stores water for Arizona, California, and Nevada, have plunged in recent years.  If levels drop below a certain point, they trigger an official shortage.  But as Maya Springhawk Robnett of the Arizona Science Desk reports, the three states are trying to avoid that…

Federal water managers say there is a 50/50 chance water levels in Lake Mead will fall below one-thousand-seventy-five feet above sea level, or about 35% capacity for the reservoir.  That’s the point at which federal rules will kick in mandating radical cuts in water taken from the Lake.

Chuck Cullom, of the Central Arizona Project, says Lake Mead is quickly approaching the need for those mandated cuts.

“In January of 2000, Lake Mead was at 92% of capacity," Cullom explains, "On January 1 of this year Lake Mead had about 36% of storage capacity.”

Lake Mead is the largest man-made reservoir in North America.  It has about 25 million acre feet of storage.

Arizona, California, and Nevada continue to negotiate a Drought Contingency Plan.