Arizona’s cities may see ‘huge’ water cutbacks soon. Here’s what that means for Valley residents.

An upcoming 2-year study will announce how much water Lake Powell and Lake Mead will release in 2023./Screen Grab 12 News

Author: Joe Dana |12 News

This month will be a moment of truth for Arizona cities.

The Federal Bureau of Reclamation is scheduled to release its “24-month study” that announces how much water Lake Powell and Lake Mead will release in 2023.

Meanwhile, seven western states must also present a plan to dramatically cut 2-4 million acre-feet of water. According to federal records, that amounts to as much as 25% of water allocated to the states.

“That is a huge amount of water,” said Drew Swieczkowski, Water Resource Manager for the City of Glendale. Swieczkowski said he expects the cutbacks will result in Valley cities getting about half as much Colorado River water next year.

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“We can do it, definitely. It just takes moving water around and using more resources,” Swieczkowski said. “But I think all the cities are saying, ‘Yeah, we can still supply water. It doesn’t mean your taps are going to run dry.’”

Cities rely heavily on the Colorado River

Cities receive water from the Colorado River via Central Arizona Project (CAP) canals.

Last year, 45% of Glendale’s water consumption consisted of Colorado River water. 

The river also accounted for:

65% of water in Scottsdale

53% of water in Peoria

40% of water in Phoenix

29% of water in Gilbert

“Peoria has known this was coming for a few years,” said Cape Powers, Water Services Director for Peoria. “We’re very confident in the preparations made and citizens should know there’s no immediate threat to the water supply in the City of Peoria.”

Stricter conservation measures are likely coming


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August 2022