A New Round of Colorado River Cuts Is Announced

In response to dwindling supplies of water from the drought-ravaged Colorado River, the federal government on Tuesday announced a new round of cuts in the amount two states can take from the river. But for now the government stopped short of mandating large reductions that officials have said will be needed next year to protect the river’s infrastructure.

Officials with the Interior Department and the Bureau of Reclamation said that levels at the Colorado’s two main reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, remained dangerously low after more than two decades of drought in the Southwest made worse by climate change. Lake Mead, behind Hoover Dam at the Arizona-Nevada border, is now about 175 feet lower than it was in 2000, when the Southwestern megadrought began.

That level triggers agreed-upon cuts in the amounts that two of the Lower Basin states, Arizona and Nevada, and Mexico can take from Lake Mead. The other Lower Basin state, California, is not currently affected, nor are the…

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This article was written by Henry Fountain and originally published on www.nytimes.com