A new report from the Colorado based conservation group Western Resource Advocates foreshadows significant cutbacks that could potentially end farming in parts of central Arizona, increase water rates throughout the state and put a halt to new housing projects.
Although Arizona has relatively low priority water rights, it depends on water supplies from the Colorado River more heavily than other states. Experts predict that as soon as 2019, the water level in Lake Mead on the Colorado River could drop significantly, triggering mandatory cutbacks in diversions from the reservoir. Persistent drought conditions in combination with over-allocation are to blame for the impending water shortage, creating a structural deficit in the river’s water supplies.
The report, “Arizona’s Water Future,” introduces measures that encourage Arizona residents to adapt to potential cutbacks. Although residents have diligently conserved available water supplies, shortages still loom within the near future.