Historic water cuts set to hit Arizona on Jan. 1

Arizona stands to lose 21% of the state’s annual allotment of Colorado River water in historic cuts.
Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 11:34 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Arizona is preparing to enter for the first time into a Tier 2A shortage for the lower Colorado River basin, with cuts beginning at the start of the new year.

For the state, this means a reduction of 21% of Arizona’s Colorado river supply and about 9% of the state’s total water use, according to the Central Arizona Project. Cities that use the Colorado river will see a 3% reduction while tribal supplies will be reduced by 7%.

And for the users of CAP water, there will no longer be excess water and agriculture pools from the Colorado River. According to the Agriculture & Water Council of Arizona, it will have a big impact on farmers as they work out ways to operate with less water. Arizona Provides a good portion of the leafy greens the country, and Canada eats. In all, the Colorado River provides water to 40 million people across seven states in the American West as well as Mexico and helps feed an agricultural industry valued at $15 billion a year.

CAP reports current hydrologic modeling indicates the Colorado River Basin will be in deeper levels of shortage in the coming years. Those experts are predicting that more will need to be done to stabilize the levels of the river’s two main reservoirs: Lake Mead, and Lake Powell.

“It is unacceptable for Arizona to continue to carry a disproportionate burden of reductions for the benefit of others who have not contributed,” Arizona Department of Water Resources Director Tom Buschatzke and Central Arizona Project General Manager Ted Cooke said in a statement following the announcement of the cuts in August.

The Bureau of Reclamation is considering additional protection measures, which have yet to be announced.

AZFamily Digital News Staff, Morgan Loew, Cody Lillich, and The Associated Press contributed to this report through prior coverage