One projection had ‘deadpool’ level being reached by 2025
YUMA, Ariz. (KECY, KYMA) – The Colorado River Citizens Forum met virtually Wednesday.
As dropping water levels at Lake Mead have concerned locals over the future of the ag industry, and development in the desert southwest.
So far Yuma has been protected from current cuts as many have senior water rights.
But with the ag economy producing billions of dollars of produce each year, its long-term health is always of top concern.
January is the first month of the tier 2A drought on Lake Mead.
And there’s more concerning news on the reservoirs water levels looking forward, should conditions remain the same.
“Levels would decline below 950 in 2024, then reach deadpool in 2025,” Sarah Baker from the Bureau of Reclamation said.
Lake Mead currently sits at a level of 1,046 feet, just over 100 feet from a deadpool level.
While Yuma hasn’t been impacted by current cuts, a deadpool wouldn’t allow for any downstream releases from Lake Mead.
At this time, the Bureau of Reclamation says this year’s snowpack is promising, but will not replace 23 years of historic dry conditions.
“We want to make sure we can protect our infrastructure and have options, which is essentially through conservation at this time,” Michael Bernardo from the Bureau of Reclamation said.
Water leaders from the Central Arizona Project said conservation from their “500-plus” plan has been a success, but that demand is still outpacing supply.
Over the last year, the federal government allocated $4 billion to help Arizona farmers conserve water.
And former Governor Ducey allocated over $1 billion in state funds in an effort to invest in desalinization projects, and bring more water to Arizona.