LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The decision is in. Lake Mead will receive less water from Lake Powell in an attempt to buffer the depleting water supply in Arizona.
Starting almost immediately, Lake Mead will be getting even less water in an already historically long drought from Lake Powell.
The warning came from the Department of Interior on April 8, saying the levels at Lake Powell were critical and if they got any lower, there was a possibility Arizona would lose the ability to produce power.
In a first-of-its-kind buffer, seven states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Nevada, and New Mexico collectively, came to the agreement that in order to help the strained Colorado River supply, Lake Powell would release less water into Lake Mead.
Roughly 7 million acre-feet of water will still go into Lake Mead, with 480,000 acre-feet leftover going for a reserve to Lake Powell to help with their crisis.
Gov. Steve Sisolak said while Lake Mead is an important commodity for Nevadans, currently the third straw still would mean Nevadans will have a supply of water.
The Southern Nevada Water Authority released its own statement on how the seven states ruled:
"The action taken today by the Seven Colorado River States is critical for protecting water levels in Lake Powell and helping address water supply challenges caused by more than two decades of drought and climate change conditions in the Colorado River Basin. While this will reduce the amount of water released to Lake Mead this year, it further underscores the critical need for all users of the Colorado River to use less water. Conditions on the Colorado River are serious, and the Basin must continue to work collectively to address these challenges.
For Southern Nevadans, the investments our community has made in constructing a deep-water intake and low lake level pumping station ensure that we can maintain access to water supplies in Lake Mead; however, local water conservation remains paramount. Continue to follow the landscape watering restrictions, remove and replace grass landscapes, and report water waste to your local water utility."