Why more water could make fixing the Colorado River even more difficult

 Photo by Jordan Evans || Cronkite News

Opinion: Above-normal snowpack is great news. But it also could make an already difficult job to sustain the Colorado River even tougher.

By Joanna Allhands || The Arizona Republic

Record snowfall has come to Arizona.

It hasn’t even melted yet, and already there’s an extra 100,000 acre-feet of water in Salt River Project’s reservoirs since Jan. 1.

Meanwhile, snowpack across the Colorado River basin is well above normal, and while it’s still too early to know how runoff will shape up, some researchers have begun to raise their expectations for a better year.

So, we can ease up, right?

Maybe we won’t need to stop using nearly as much water this year, as predicted, to keep Lake Mead and Lake Powell on life support?

That’s exactly what some folks are now saying. And that presents an unexpected challenge.

States still haven’t come to a deal on cuts

The feds told the seven Colorado River basin states last summer that they needed to stop using at least 2 million acre-feet of water this year. It’s an inordinate amount – enough to submerge the city of Phoenix in 6 feet of water.

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