Las Vegas Sun

September 16, 2019

Currently: 87° — Complete forecast

Nevada, Arizona cuts to Colorado River water negligible

Desert Bighorn Sheep at Hemenway Park

Steve Marcus

A view of Lake Mead from Hemenway Park in Boulder City, Nev. Saturday, July 13, 2019.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Arizona and Nevada are faced with the first-ever cuts to their Colorado River water supply in 2020.

But the cuts aren't expected to be overly burdensome for either state because they've been conserving and storing water for years.

The water is delivered through Lake Mead, one of the largest manmade reservoirs in the country.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says Lake Mead will fall below 1,090 feet (332 meters) on Jan. 1, triggering the cuts.

Arizona will leave 7% of its allocation in Lake Mead under a drought plan approved earlier this year by several states that rely on the river. Nevada will leave 3%.

Mexico also gives up 3% under a separate accord.

The states and Mexico can recover the water if Lake Mead rises to a certain level.