August always has been an important month for Colorado River water users because it is when the Bureau of Reclamation releases the 24-month study determining how water supplies will be managed the following year.
Last year, results of the August 24-month study initiated the first-ever Tier 1 water shortage for 2022. The Tier 1 shortage decreased Arizona’s access to Colorado River water by 512,000 acre-feet (An acre-foot equals 325,851 gallons of water, or enough water to cover 1 acre of land with 1 foot of water.) This water reduction most heavily impacted central Arizona agricultural users.
There was even more at stake this August. Throughout 2022, Colorado River hydrology forecasts did not improve and water levels in storage lakes (Lake Powell and Lake Mead) continued to decline. Modeling scenarios for the Colorado River system are showing higher possibilities for storage lakes to decline to a point called “dead pool” where no more water can be pumped out for users.
This situation spurred the commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation, Camille Touton, to request that all seven Colorado River basin states (Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, California and Nevada) come to an agreement to reduce total water use in the system by an additional 2 million to 4 million acre feet. An update on this basin-wide agreement was due to be released in August 2022 with the regularly scheduled 24-month study.
August has come and gone and there is still no official agreement or plan to reduce Colorado River water use, but negotiations continue as do the calls for action. The most recent 24-month study determined a Tier 2A shortage level for the Colorado River in 2023. This shortage level reduces Arizona’s water supply by an additional 80,000 acre-feet beyond the Tier 1 reductions.
There is, however, good news for Maricopa. Global Water Resources does not use Colorado River supplies and our community will not be impacted by these shortages.
Global Water Resources is dedicated to keeping our community informed about what is happening and what you can do to help. We were founded with water scarcity in mind which is why we practice Total Water Management (TWM). TWM promotes sustainable communities through effective planning, use of recycled water and by providing individuals and communities resources that promote wise water usage. We continue to invest in education, technology and partnerships to accomplish these TWM goals.
While we continue to wait and see what comes next for the Colorado River, it is more important than ever to consider how you are managing your water use at home. Did you know that you can set a goal for your household’s monthly water usage through your Welcome Portal? You can elect to receive email or text notifications if you are approaching your water-usage goals. Tell us how you are doing by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This sponsored content was first published in the October edition of InMaricopa magazine.