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More water headed to struggling Lake Mead


FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) - One of the main reservoirs in the vast Colorado River water system that is struggling to serve the booming Southwest will get more water this year, but that won't be enough to pull Lake Mead back from near-record lows.

The water elevation in the reservoir behind Hoover Dam has alarmed water managers, farmers and cities throughout the region. They depend on it for some of their water supply amid a grueling drought.

Shortages aren't expected in the upcoming water year, but they are for the 2016 year.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced Wednesday that it will release 10 percent more water from Lake Powell near the Arizona-Utah border into Lake Mead than it did the past year, thanks to near-normal runoff.

The runoff from the Upper Colorado River basin was far less the two previous years.

Federal officials say they will send 8.23 million acre feet to Lake Mead, up from 7.48 million. An acre foot is about 325,850 gallons, or enough to cover a football field with a foot of water.

Despite the additional water, Lake Mead will remain near record lows. That's because more water will be delivered to cities, farms, American Indian communities and Mexico than Lake Mead will get from Lake Powell.

Lake Mead already is at its lowest point since Hoover Dam was completed and the lake was first filled in the 1930s.

The Bureau of Reclamation has projected Lake Mead will be at 1,083 feet in January, ensuring all water deliveries. It is expected to fall to 1,075 for January 2016, triggering water cuts to Arizona and Nevada.

While water authorities say they've been saving water for potential dry days, some are already preparing for cuts.

Federal officials and water administrators in metro areas such as Las Vegas and Phoenix say they're committed to finding new ways to make every drop of river water count - from cloud seeding to pipelines to new reservoirs.

Colorado River basin supplies water to California, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and part of Mexico.

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baczik August 13 2014 at 7:50 PM

To all the "booming" Southwest: There is a reason it was desert when you guys first got there. NO WATER. Also the reason for low population was NO WATER. It's kind of dumb to go live where there is NO WATER, and then wonder why there is NO WATER there. Sane people live in areas that can support the population. If you try to put too many people in an area with NO WATER, you get these results. By the way, the desert is beautiful, but has NO WATER.

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7 replies
aguilamnstr August 13 2014 at 7:40 PM

Residential Lawns in the southwest should be banned. It would save residents time and money anyway. It's time to start living within our means. Just imagine what vegetation survived in the desert southwest before people built homes there and go back to it. Get real California! You can't even take care of you own people, why should the rest of the states suffer for you.

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4 replies
christa August 13 2014 at 7:49 PM

Stop sending water to mexico they let these teens ride trains right up to our border and off load thousands and they are holding an active duty solider that made a wrong turn on a road that is confusing to say the least obama needs to send all these mexican gang members to mexice and drop them in the desert, just a thought.

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6 replies
MARTHA & PERRY August 13 2014 at 8:31 PM

they should build aqueducts from the Midwest to the southwest. during spring floods they could channel the flood waters to the west where it's needed. would be a great public works project to employ thousands.

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13 replies
dseel1 August 13 2014 at 8:24 PM

California has not added any water storage in 40 years and the pop. has doubled. Start there.

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3 replies
MaryBeth August 13 2014 at 8:54 PM

Perhaps we could start with conservation in gambling towns? Turn off the fancy water features, even if they recycle the water, can you imagine the evaporation on a 112 degree day? Stop watering the golf courses, install water controlling shower heads and in those fancy suites for whales - do they really need 7 shower heads? Serve water only to those that request it. HOA's can stop demanding green lawns and allow xeriscape. These suggestions may be just a drop in the bucket, but every drop helps!

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4 replies
rpthe1 August 13 2014 at 9:59 PM

Once again I say we need to build a series of canals , pipelines and reservoirs across the country to carry water from areas that flood yearly to areas of drought in the west. It would create lots of new jobs, more food and livestock, create recreation and even new towns. More critical than patching "some" roads and bullet trains.

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4 replies
wassup August 13 2014 at 7:44 PM

My dad lives in Arizona. There is no conservation that I can see.

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4 replies
kcarthey August 13 2014 at 9:27 PM

Better use of water is part of the answer. Grey water systems should be mandated for public areas such as parks and golf courses, as well as the lush fountains seen all over Vegas.

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6 replies
Mr Crane August 14 2014 at 2:13 AM

The simple fix is population control

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