Drought-choked Colorado River faces an unprecedented water shortage

Intake towers for water to enter to generate electricity and provide hydroelectric power stand during low water levels due the western drought on July 19, 2021 at the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River at the Nevada and Arizona state border. | Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

For the first time ever, there’s an official water shortage at the largest water reservoir in the US. Today, the US Bureau of Reclamation declared a water shortage at Hoover Dam’s Lake Mead, which 25 million people across the Western US and Mexico rely on for water. It’s the first time this kind of declaration had been made on the Colorado River, the main source of water for Lake Mead, CNN and E&E News report.

The declaration will trigger mandatory cuts to water use starting January 1, 2023. California, Arizona, and Nevada all tap water from Lake Mead. Based on federal guidelines for shortages brokered in 2019, Arizona will lose 18 percent of its annual apportionment of water from Lake Mead, and Nevada will lose seven percent of their…

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