Despite a lot of snow and rain this winter, the Colorado River Basin has been in historically dry conditions since 2000. The situation is so severe the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation predicts Lake Mead reservoir's elevation may drop to a level that will trigger a shortage declaration. If that happens, some water users in Arizona and Nevada will begin to see cuts in water deliveries from the river.
In an average year, about 25% of Southern California’s water comes from the Colorado River. Although Metropolitan would not have a delivery cut next year, a shortage declaration could limit access to nearly 600,000 acre-feet of water that Metropolitan has stored in Lake Mead. To avoid that risk, Met would want to move the water from the lake into our region so agencies have better access to it.
require the CRA to operate at full capacity this year, and could delay plans for a major shutdown starting later this year to replace the power cables and make other related repairs at the five CRA pumping plants.
ropolitan is collaborating with other states and agencies on a solution. In December, the board authorized the General Manager to enter into agreements that would implement a deal known as the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan (DCP). Under the plan, water users would conserve and store w
ater so Lake Mead would not drop to critically low levels.
Reclamation has set a March 4 deadline for states and agencies to approve the DCP. If the deadline is missed, Reclamation will proceed with a separate plan to protect Lake Mead.