Enough water will be released from Lake Powell into Lake Mead this year to prevent a shortage that would have triggered mandatory cutbacks in water amounts for Nevada and Arizona. 9 million acre-feet will flow from Powell to Mead. This is above the annual average on 8.7 million acre-feet but less than originally hoped for due a dry March.
Still, this is hugely good news, even if the rationing could still happen a few years in the future. A bullet has been dodged.
A shortage would trigger cuts in water deliveries to Arizona and Nevada, the first states to be hit under the multi-state agreements and rules governing the Colorado River. That had been expected as soon as next year.
“It’s pushed that shortage likelihood out into the future,” Duke said, but it’s too early to say how far
Lake Mead will now end this water year 5, maybe 7 feet higher than last year.