/ Modified apr 17, 2021 12:40 p.m.

US West prepares for possible 1st water shortage declaration

Projections say by late next year Lake Mead could drop to levels that could threaten the ability to generate electricity at Hoover Dam

360 lake mead wide Lake Mead, 2016.
AZPM Staff

U.S. water officials are projecting the man-made lakes that store water used throughout the American West will fall to historically low levels and trigger an official shortage declaration for the first time.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released projections this week forecasting that less Colorado River water will fill Lake Powell and Lake Mead, which would force cuts to Arizona and Nevada.

By November 2022, the agency projects Lake Mead could drop to levels that could threaten the ability to generate electricity at Hoover Dam.

The April projections don't have binding impact because federal officials use the forecast released each August to make decisions about how to allocate river water.

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