UA podcasts explore what a shortage in Lake Mead means for Arizo - Tucson News Now

UA podcasts explore what a shortage in Lake Mead means for Arizona

Water levels in Lake Mead are at historic lows and a further drop could mean cutbacks for states using the water. The first to take a hit is Arizona. The Central Arizona Project (CAP), which supplies water to Tucson and other cities in the state, is scheduled to see a cut in water supply if the Lake Mead levels reach 1075'. 

The below graph shows the latest Lake Mead water level measurement.

According to the Bureau of Reclamation "Only if Lake Mead is projected to reach elevation 1,075 feet on January 1 of each year would the Secretary of the Interior determine a shortage condition and reduce water deliveries in the Lower Basin." The Lower Basin states include Arizona, California, and Nevada. In the Colorado River Compact of 1922 7.5 million acre-feet per year of river water was divided among these three states. Arizona gets 37.3% of the water with California getting 58.70%. Nevada only gets about 4% of the water. With junior water rights to California's senior water rights, Arizona and Nevada could be experience the effects of a shortage before California.

With a possible shortage looming, the University of Arizona's Climate Assessment of the Southwest (CLIMAS) is producing podcasts called '1075' - the Shortage on the Colorado River'. These podcasts explore "what the first ever shortage declaration on the Colorado River would mean to those living in the Southwest" according to CLIMAS. A list of the current podcasts is found below. 

Click here for the podcasts and more information CLIMAS.

Episode 1: Management of the Colorado River (Doug Kenney) - In this episode, we take a broad view of the Colorado River Basin, exploring how the river is managed, who uses the water, and what a potential shortage could mean for the system. Our guest is Doug Kenney, Director of the Western Water Policy Program, a division of the Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy and the Environment, at the University of Colorado School of Law.

Episode 2: Stressors on the River (B. Colby, G. Frisvold, K. Morino) - In this episode, CLIMAS climate scientist Zack Guido hosts three University of Arizona experts, Bonnie Colby, George Frisvold and Kiyomi Morino, to discuss water supply and demand in the Colorado River basin. This podcast explores stressors on the Colorado River Basin, how these stressors may change over time, and how these changes may affect management and behaviors across the Southwest.

Episode 3: Shortage Impacts on the Central Arizona Project (Mohammed Mahmoud) - In this episode, CLIMAS climate scientist Zack Guido and Mohammed Mahmoud, planning analyst with the Colorado River Programs department at the Central Arizona Project (CAP), discuss the CAP and its role in delivering Colorado River water throughout Arizona, as well as how a shortage would impact the CAP system.

Episode 4: The Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District (Dennis Rule) - In this episode, CLIMAS climate scientist Zack Guido talks to Dennis Rule, manager of the Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District (CAGRD), about the importance of CAGRD in the management of Arizona groundwater and potential impacts on the system from continued drought in the Colorado River Basin.

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