Southwest water shortage concerns officials, young farmers

If water levels in Lake Powell continue to decline, agriculture, power generation, and water availability to Las Vegas and western states may be significantly limited.

As expected, a recent announcement from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) that warns of a historically low reduction in the amount of water to be released from Lake Powell next year has alarmed water officials across the Southwest and in California.

It has also prompted an organizer for the National Young Farmers Coalition to release a statement warning of a looming water crisis and a sharp decline in future agricultural production if water stakeholders fail to respond with better conservation and water management practices.

The BOR report warns that for the first time ever the water level at Lake Powell next year will dip below a point that automatically triggers a reduction in water that is delivered downstream to Lake Mead, a measure many believe could prompt an unprecedented water crisis if that trend were to span multiple years.

Following the BOR statement, Southern Nevada Water Authority chief Pat Mulroy said she believes the time has come to talk about federal disaster aid.  The SNWA is charged with providing water to Las Vegas, and Mulroy says increased demands for water and a shortage of the available resource poses a threat to the Southwest and West in the coming years as deadly as Hurricane Sandy was last year for the Eastern third of the nation.

To read the rest of this article, click on this link from Southwest Farm Press [2].

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