On April 17, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation provided the results of the April 2017 24-month study, showing future reservoir conditions to be very positive, thanks to a wet winter.
The 2016-2017 winter snowpack is forecast to generate 130% of normal runoff into the Colorado River system. One above average snowpack in the Rockies doesn’t release us from the long-term risk of shortage. However, it has given us a brief reprieve, allowing water managers to plan and implement programs and projects to better address our long-term risks.
In cooperation with ADWR and other stakeholders, water contributions to Lake Mead have allowed us to avoid shortage for the last three years. The favorable hydrology means Lake Mead will receive an additional 770k acre-feet of water from Lake Powell, potentially pushing off shortage for several more years, so long as we continue careful and thoughtful water management.
This is the result of the dedication and hard work of many in the water community, including CAP and its partners coming together to identify and implement measures to support and protect Lake Mead. With diligence, together, we can ensure no shortage in 2018.
To further these efforts, ADWR, CAP and partners in the Basin are working to do more through Drought Contingency Plans, which will decrease water uses in California, Arizona, and Nevada to protect Lake Mead. We hope to see these efforts implemented in the next year. We also want to recognize our partners in Mexico, as we work together on Minute 32x, a cooperative agreement to share risks and opportunities in the Colorado River. We are confident this effort will provide reliable water for users in both countries and improve the health of the Colorado River.
Everything we’ve all done to increase reliability, improve efficiency and control costs contributes to making Arizona’s water supply as resilient as possible. Within Arizona we have many to thank: ADWR, Gila River Indian Community, Tucson, Tohono O’Odham, Colorado River Indian Tribes, Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Scottsdale, Glendale, Peoria, Phoenix, Central Arizona irrigation districts, and Reclamation all provided contributions to Protect Lake Mead and ensure more reliable Colorado River deliveries.
As we turn our eyes to 2019, CAP is confident we can all rise to the challenge and protect the lake another year. It’s this spirit of cooperation, collaboration, shared investment, shared burdens, and efficient and wise stewardship of Arizona’s water resources that creates a tightly woven fabric in Arizona’s water history and future.