Sunday, April 26, 2015

Water level in Lake Mead is at all time low - and it may get worse

Here is a report from The Republic/

Point 1: It's just a matter of time ...

The water level at Lake Mead, which stores Colorado River water for Western states and Mexico, is expected to hit a record low this weekend and continue to dive this summer.

Officials project the lake to stand at 1,080 feet Sunday and ultimately sink to 1073.03 feet by the end of this June before recovering just enough to steer clear of a 2016 Colorado River shortage declaration — by less than 7 feet.

Last year, the lake's lowest point was 1,080.19 feet in August.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation would announce a 2016 shortage this August if it projects that Lake Mead won't rise above 1,075 feet by January. Assessments are updated in the middle of every month.

There is a 21 percent chance of that happening, but the odds increase to 54 percent for 2017, said Rose Davis, a spokeswoman for the bureau.

Point 2: ... before there is more pumping of ground water.

Arizona has banked water and enacted regulations to protect residents in major metro areas from draconian cuts if the shortage is declared, but agriculture would take a 50 percent cut from the Central Arizona Project, which brings Colorado River water to the state.

Farmers using CAP water have known that in a few decades they will have to contract or evolve regardless of a shortage because their rights to CAP water end in 2030. The possible shortage has just hastened that reality, said Theodore Cooke, deputy general manager of finance and administration at the CAP.

Such farmers would then have to rely more heavily on pumping groundwater.

And to add to this, we in GV really want the Rosemont mine? In exchange for precious ground water, Rosemont (now HudBay) is giving us CAP water that may very well not exist to give away.

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