Arizona cities cut deal to store more water in Lake Mead

screen-shot-2016-11-11-at-4-35-28-amBy Sandy Lopez | Las Vegas Review-Journal

Officials in Arizona have approved a new water-sharing agreement that will leave more water in Lake Mead in an effort to head off an unprecedented federal shortage declaration.

Under an agreement between water officials in Phoenix and Tucson, a significant amount of Colorado River water allocated to Phoenix will be stored in Tucson-area reservoirs and the underground aquifer next year, while Tucson will draw about 20 percent less water from Lake Mead than normal.

The deal is intended to keep the water level in Lake Mead high enough to prevent the federal Bureau of Reclamation from declaring a water shortage that would require states to reduce their withdrawal of water from the lake, which supplies approximately 90 percent of the Las Vegas Valley’s drinking water.

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