Breaking News
Get 40% Off 0
👀 Reveal Warren Buffett's stock picks that are beating the S&P 500 by +174.3% Get 40% Off

U.S. declares first Western reservoir water shortage, triggering cuts

Published Aug 16, 2021 04:44PM ET Updated Aug 17, 2021 04:26AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Low water levels due to drought are seen in the Hoover Dam reservoir of Lake Mead near Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. June 9, 2021. REUTERS/Bridget Bennett 2/2

By Nichola Groom

(Reuters) -U.S. officials for the first time on Monday declared an official water shortage for the massive Lake Mead reservoir, triggering supply cuts to parts of the drought-stricken Southwest, as 10 Western governors appealed for federal drought disaster aid.

The shortage will reduce water apportionments to Arizona, Nevada and Mexico for the year beginning in October, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, an Interior Department agency, said in a statement.

Arizona will lose 18% of its annual apportionment, while Nevada will see cuts of 7%. Apportionments to Mexico, which are required under a 1944 treaty, will be cut by 5%.

Separately, 10 Western governors urged President Joe Biden to declare a federal drought disaster in their states, qualifying farmers and ranchers to seek special assistance "beyond what is available through existing emergency programs."

"Historic drought levels threaten to eliminate entire crops, depress yields and harbor extreme levels of pests and disease that add to the cumulative loss," the governors wrote in a letter.

While not a surprise, the cuts in reservoir supplies will mean less water -- and tough allotment decisions -- for agriculture, cities and Native American tribes in the parched region, which is in its 22nd year of drought.

"We are seeing the effects of climate change," Tanya Trujillo, the Interior Department's assistant secretary for water and science, said during an online press conference. She pointed to the region's lower-than-average snowpack, scorching temperatures and dry soil conditions.

"Unfortunately that trend may continue," Trujillo said.

The drought has drastically reduced animal feed supplies across the West, sending hay prices soaring as many ranchers and farmers are forced to auction off livestock or to consider selling their land for development, the governors' letter said.

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor report shows drought conditions across 99% of the Western United States, up from 63% a year ago, with an estimated 59.2 million Americans living in drought-stricken areas, they said.

Lake Mead, formed in the 1930s from the damming of the Colorado River at the Nevada-Arizona border, is the largest reservoir in the United States. It is crucial to the water supply of 25 million people in the cities of Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Tucson and Las Vegas.

Crippling drought in the U.S. West has brought Lake Mead and Lake Powell, the nation's second-biggest reservoir, to historic lows. Total water storage in the Colorado River system is at 40% of capacity, down from 49% a year ago, the bureau said.

Water releases in a given year are determined by an annual study anticipating the reservoirs' water levels in winter. In January, Lake Mead is expected to be at 1,065.85 feet (324.9 metres) above sea level, which is 9 feet below the official trigger for a shortage.

The reservoir's elevation is projected to keep falling, the agency said. Arizona, California and Nevada are mulling actions needed to prevent the reservoir from going below 1,020 feet, officials said.

 

U.S. declares first Western reservoir water shortage, triggering cuts
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.
  • Any comment you publish, together with your investing.com profile, will be public on investing.com and may be indexed and available through third party search engines, such as Google.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (2)
Hunt Richardson
Hunt Richardson Aug 17, 2021 5:49AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
this problem will not go away. it will become worse
jason xx
jason xx Aug 17, 2021 5:36AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
What good is development land with no water?
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email