From the Associated Press (Ken Ritter) via the Albuquerque Journal:
Federal water managers released a report Monday projecting that Lake Mead’s water levels will fall below a point in January 2017 that would force supply cuts to Arizona and Nevada.
The effects could be serious. Arizona’s allocation of Colorado River water could be cut 11.4 percent, or by an amount normally used by more than 600,000 homes. Nevada’s share could be reduced 4.3 percent. Think 26,000 homes.
But officials heading water agencies in the two states and California took a wait-and-see approach to the projections posted by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
They pointed to fluctuations in precipitation levels just since January. They added that more will be known in August when the bureau knows how much runoff in the upper-basin states of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming reaches the Lake Powell reservoir.
That will determine how much water the agency controlling a Colorado River water system crucial to about 40 million residents in seven Southwest U.S. states will release from Lake Powell through the Grand Canyon to Lake Mead near Las Vegas.
“A lot is going to depend on precipitation and flows from the tributaries,” said David Modeer, general manager of the Central Arizona Project, the main water agency in the lower-basin state that would be affected the most.
More Colorado River Basin coverage here.