ARIZONA NEWS

Low tide: Lake levels have fallen so far it will take years to catch up

Mar 5, 2015, 7:25 AM | Updated: 7:26 am

...

PHOENIX — It’s been at least 20 years since water levels have been normal at Lake Powell and Lake Mead and that isn’t going to change anytime soon, said a local climate expert.

Arizona State University climatologist Randy Cerveny said it would take at least five years of heavy snowpack in Colorado to porperly feed the Colorado River.

The snowpack is down approximately 20 percent from last year. The river supplies the water for both reservoirs, which are less than half full. Lake Mead in Nevada is 140 feet below capacity.

The river is so overused that it can’t catch up, Cerveny said. Any extra water will be taken in by people who are using river water.

“The last time we saw levels that were near long term normal was back in the early ’90s. It’s completely allocated,” Cerveny said.

“It used to be the Colorado River ran all the way to the Gulf of California. Now it’s sucked dry before it reaches Yuma.”

Cerveny said Arizona has been in various degrees of drought since 1997, and along with others, he is concerned that the state may be in the early stages of a mega drought. Such a drought can last for more than a century.

The Central Arizona Project, which delivers Colorado River water to the Valley and Tucson, said a water shortage could be declared next year or in 2017.

The cities wouldn’t see cuts in water but the CAP would stop pumping water into underground storage and some agriculture customers would face cuts in water delivery.

While the Colorado River situation is bleak, there’s optimism for Salt River Projects reservoirs, which are at 56 percent of capacity. That is only 1 percent less than last year.

Charlie Ester, manager of water resource operations with SRP, said the recent storms have helped.

“We have some snow in the mountains and the watershed is very wet. If we can get some additional storms we will get even more runoff. The last time our reservoirs filled was in 2010.”

Ester said SRP has plenty of experience in dealing with droughts and that the utility company was prepared for sustained drought.

“In 2002, Lake Roosevelt was down to 10 percent. Right now Roosevelt is at 47 percent full,” he said.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

A crash tied up traffic on southbound State Route 51 near Bethany Home Road on Monday, May 27, 2024...

KTAR.com

Southbound lanes of State Route 51 closed near Bethany Home Road due to crash

State Route 51 is closed for southbound traffic near Bethany Home Road on Monday, the Arizona Department of Transportation announced.

2 hours ago

Several donors are matching contributions made to Fountain Hills' International Dark Sky Discovery ...

KTAR.com

Donors to match contributions to Fountain Hills Dark Sky Center for limited time

From now until June 20, several donors are matching contributions made to Fountain Hills' International Dark Sky Discovery Center.

2 hours ago

Gov. Katie Hobbs was one of several officials who attended the Salt River Flats ribbon-cutting cere...

KTAR.com

Weekend Wrap-Up: Here are the biggest Phoenix news stories from May 24-27

From new affordable housing to the Secure the Border Act, here are some of the biggest news stories in the Valley over the weekend.

4 hours ago

breaking ground...

Nick Borgia

United Cerebral Palsy of Central Arizona breaks ground on a $250,000 project

United Cerebral Palsy of Central Arizona broke ground on a $250,000 project to expand services for adults with special needs.

6 hours ago

phoenix police...

KTAR.com

Intersection of Yale Street and 36th Street closed in Phoenix after shooting

Police are investigating a shooting that happened Monday around 12:30 p.m. in the intersection of Yale Street and 36th Street, police said.

9 hours ago

A Yuma man has been arrested for allegedly starting a wildfire in a national wildlife preserve near...

Associated Press

Man accused of starting wildfire in national wildlife preserve in Yuma

A Yuma man has been arrested for allegedly starting a wildfire in a national wildlife preserve near the California border.

10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Low tide: Lake levels have fallen so far it will take years to catch up