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Phoenix agrees to leave more water in Lake Mead to keep levels from depleting

The city will be compensated for not taking up to 30,000 acre-feet of water out of Lake Mead. An acre-foot of water is equal to about 326,000 gallons.

PHOENIX — Editor's Note: The above video is from an earlier broadcast. 

The city of Phoenix has agreed to forfeit taking more water out of Lake Mead, in an effort to stave off the reservoir's shrinking water levels.  

City officials announced Friday they've agreed to leave 14,000 acre-feet of the city's water allotments in Lake Mead. An acre-foot of water is equal to about 326,000 gallons, which is roughly the amount of water consumed annually by 3.5 Arizona homes.

Drought conditions have recently been shrinking Lake Mead's surface levels down to historic lows, raising concerns from the many communities in Arizona that rely on the reservoir for water.  

Back in January, Phoenix said it would not take 16,000 acre-feet of its water credits out of Lake Mead. 

Phoenix will be paid $7.8 million for not using its water allotments. The city said that money will be placed in a special fund used for purchasing water from other sources.  

“In this time of extreme drought, it is not easy to convince governments to leave water behind,” Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said in a statement. “However, I believe we are all acutely focused on what it will take to help Arizona communities thrive for the long term."

Phoenix's water cuts are part of a regional strategic plan to leave 500,000 acre-feet in Lake Mead each year until 2026. Tucson, the Gila River Indian Community and other stakeholders have also voluntarily made reductions to their water allotments.

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RELATED: Chandler spending $45M on new water facility amidst drought concerns

RELATED: World War II-era boat emerges from shrinking Lake Mead


12 News, along with sister stations across Western states, set out to understand the dire conditions Arizona and other states face as drought and wildfire continue to rage.


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