Forecast: Plenty of CAP water for Tucson and Arizona for now despite overheated drought

By Tony Davis | Arizona Daily Star

A line along a cliff illustrates where Lake Mead once stood near South Cove. A group of government entities and tribes conserved a total of 385,000 acre feet in Lake Mead this year.
/ David Wallace/Arizona Daily Star

Everywhere you look, news about heat and drought in the West is bad.Tucson and Phoenix residents are coping with record summer heat and Tucson is in the midst of its worst monsoon season on record. California residents are dealing with power blackouts due to an extreme heat wave. Death Valley just hit 130 degrees, possibly the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth.

In both Arizona and Colorado, 83% of all residents are living in areas considered drought-stricken. Well over half of both states are suffering from what federal officials say is moderate or severe drought.

But none of that poses an immediate threat to the Central Arizona Project — Tucson’s drinking water supply. While experts agree that long-term problems remain for the project, and the Colorado River that supplies it, next year’s forecast and that of 2022 look good.

The latest forecast from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, released last week, predicts that by the end of 2020, Lake Mead, which furnishes CAP water, will be at 1,085 feet elevation.


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August 2020