ARIZONA, USA — Arizona water officials now predict the West will enter the next stage of drought restrictions as soon as August.
A Tier 2 shortage declaration would mean even more cuts to the amount of water Arizona gets from the Colorado River, but not nearly as much as the Tier 1 shortage declared in 2021.
Still, officials with the Central Arizona Project and the Department of Water Resources warn the state needs to do more to conserve water to help stave off even more restrictive cuts.
“Most of the water use is outside the home,” CAP Deputy Director Ted Cooke said. “It’s in the yard, it’s pools, it’s plants, it’s lawns.”
Cooke said there’s a lot of room for conservation just by having people cut their home water use.
The Federal Bureau of Reclamation declares water shortages, which trigger water cuts based on previously approved agreements.
In 2021, the Bureau of Reclamation declared its first-ever water shortage, cutting more than 500,000 acre-feet of water going to Arizona. An acre-foot of water would generally supply three average Phoenix households with water for a year.
A Tier 2 shortage, if it’s declared, cuts an additional 80,000 acre-feet of water to Arizona.
“How that’s going to impact the homeowner is…they’re probably not going to see much of an impact at all,” Arizona Department of Water Resources director Tom Buschatzke said.
Lake Mead and Lake Powell are at record low levels, thanks to a 22-year-long drought in the West.
The Bureau of Reclamation announced this week that it would keep another 500,000 acre-feet of water in Lake Powell just to ensure that Glen Canyon Dam can stay functional.
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