ARIZONA NEWS

Tucson willing to take 20% less water to help Lake Mead shortage

May 21, 2022, 6:00 PM | Updated: May 22, 2022, 11:28 am
Clouds pass over drought-stricken Lake Mead on May 10, 2022 in the Lake Mead National Recreation Ar...
Clouds pass over drought-stricken Lake Mead on May 10, 2022 in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation reported that Lake Mead, North America's largest artificial reservoir, has dropped to about 1,052 feet above sea level, the lowest it's been since being filled in 1937 after the construction of the Hoover Dam. Two sets of human remains have been discovered recently as the lake continues to recede. The declining water levels are a result of a climate change-fueled megadrought coupled with increased water demands in the Southwestern United States. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

TUCSON (AP) — Arizona’s second most populous city has signaled it may forego part of its allotment of Colorado River water delivered by the Central Arizona Project aqueduct in order to help forestall a shortage declaration for Lake Mead that would trigger mandatory reductions.

The Tucson City Council included its potential willingness to take 20% less CAP water in voting Thursday to direct city officials to discuss with other jurisdictions the possible of coordinated conservation agreements to keep more water in the reservoir, which has seen its water plummet due to drought.

“We have a responsibility to protect our precious water resources and preserve our water supply. With today’s direction we are taking action to safeguard Lake Mead and Lake Powell from the threat of climate change and over-use.”

Lake Mead’s surface has dropped more than 170 feet (52 meters) since 1983, and the lake is down to about 30% of capacity.

Tucson receives about 144,000 acre feet of CAP water annually but uses only about 100,000 and has been storing the surplus underground.

Several Indian tribes and local jurisdictions, including Phoenix, have not taken their full allocations of CAP water, and Tucson previously said it would also participate if needed, KOLD-TV reported.

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Tucson willing to take 20% less water to help Lake Mead shortage