The federal government had declared the Colorado water shortage and announced cutbacks that will bring several challenges for the farmers in Arizona. It will also reduce the allotment of water in Mexico and Nevada.
The Colorado water shortage declaration was expected for several months and was done due to the sharp decline in the level of water on Lake Mead. This lake is used to store water for Mexico, California, Nevada, and Arizona.
This lake fell down to the lowest level, ever since the Hoover dam was constructed and is still predicted to drop. This drop is due to the drought and overuse of its water and is currently standing at 35% capacity.
The reservoir is predicted to drop further and the state officials have begun talking about the steps that need to be taken to reduce the risk caused by the drop in Lake Mead.
Colorado Water Shortage Can Cutoff The Water For Growers
The water managers had stated that the Colorado water shortage declaration shows the severity of the drought and how the change in climate is affecting the river. The river provides drinking water to 40 million Americans and is causing a major risk.
The reclamations do not take such issues lightly and they only take measures when it is necessary. They help in protecting the system and implement the agreements that were in place.
The cuts that are planned will be the largest ones and will shrink the flow of the river’s water. The water flows through a 336 mile long Arizona Canal which has provided water to the desert cities and stretches of farmlands.
The Arizona farms will be faced with major cutbacks after the Colorado water shortage declaration was made and they are preparing for these supplies to be cut off entirely. This reduction will leave fields in Pinal County dry. The state is doing its part by providing money to the irrigation districts to drill wells for accessing groundwater.
The reduction of water is taking effect after the establishment of the Drought Contingency Plan in 2019. It was aimed to reduce the risks of Lake Mead when it fell to critically low levels. Heatwaves and drought have made this tough and the level of the lake is falling faster than it was anticipated.
The Lake Mead drop has baffled researchers and they believe that the agreement in 2019 is not enough and the region would require bigger efforts.
The Farmers will see a drop in water supply as much as 60% and they will have to stop the irrigation of one-third of their farmlands.
The Farmers in Pinal County had known that their supply of water would be cut off eventually when a settlement was made in 2004, to decrease the delivery of water between 2017 and 2030.
Scientists have described the last decade as a megadrought, which was made worse by the change in climate and “aridification” of the River basin in Colorado. They would have to adopt certain measures to suck less water from this river.
Lake Mead was almost full in 2000 and has seen a drop of 147 feet in time. It left a ring of minerals on the rocky shores which are still growing. The retreat of water has sped up after severe heat and extreme drought.
There are many questions that are still unanswered about the future of agriculture in Pinal County and how the farmers would respond to it.
There might be a future for the people if they can save water by switching to drip irrigation or by improving their watersheds. Most people have already installed drip irrigation and are expecting them to play their role.