The Year in Water, 2022: #ColoradoRiver Basin’s Moment of Reckoning — Circle of Blue #COriver #aridification

Updated Colorado River 4-Panel plot thru Water Year 2022 showing reservoirs, flows, temperatures and precipitation. All trends are in the wrong direction. Since original 2017 plot, conditions have deteriorated significantly. Brad Udall via Twitter:

Click the link to read the article on the Circle of Blue website. Here’s an excerpt:

It was perhaps the shock that Colorado River users needed.

A basin that is spending down its water savings was jolted in June when the U.S. government ordered the seven states to correct a longstanding misalignment of water supply and demand.

Camille Touton, commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation, told the states to cut their take from the river next year by between two million and four million acre-feet of water. At the high end, that equals one-third of the Colorado’s recent annual flow. Unless the states acted, she said, the federal government would “protect the system” and apply its own remedy.

John Entsminger, the head of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, which supplies the Las Vegas area, affirmed the groundbreaking nature of the pronouncement. The requested conservation volumes, he said, were of a magnitude “previously considered unattainable.”

They still haven’t been attained. The states missed an August deadline and remain in fractious negotiations about how to divide the cuts.

Lake Mead, absent unprecedented action or a miraculous winter, remains in peril. It is projected to shrink more than 20 feet by the end of 2023, when the reservoir would be just 22 percent of capacity.

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