Reservoirs along the Colorado River have reached historic lows
Amid a historic, climate crisis-fueled drought, the federal government has for the first time declared a water shortage along the dams and reservoirs fed by the Colorado River. This triggers automatic water cuts, effective next January, that could affect more than 25 million people in the US Southwest, tribal nations, and Mexico.
Water levels in Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the US by volume, are at their lowest since the 1930s, when the reservoir was first filled in following the construction of the Hoover Dam.
The cuts will be deepest in Arizona, which will see a nearly 20 per cent reduction in its share of Colorado River water. The state’s farmers will bear the brunt of the reductions.
“As this inexorable-seeming decline in the supply continues, the shortages that we’re beginning to see implemented are only going to increase,” Jennifer Pitt, who directs the Colorado River program at the National Audubon Society, 言った ニューヨークタイムズ. “Once we’re on that train, it’s not clear where it stops.”
One of the primary drivers of the shortage is the climate crisis, and the way it exacerbates naturally existing drought cycles. 先週, ahead of the Department of Interior’s announcement about the river, the US Drought Monitor declared 95 per cent of the West to be in a drought, the highest level ever recorded.