Today the Bureau of Reclamation released its April 24-Month Study, which anticipates conditions on the Colorado River system for the next two years. The study, while significant, is not a surprise. It reflects the impacts of the dry and warm conditions across the Colorado River Basin this year, as well as the effects of a prolonged drought that has impacted the Colorado River water supply.
The results continue to show a very high likelihood of Tier 1 reductions in 2022 and 2023, as well as an increasing risk of Tier 2 conditions in the near future. We are prepared for these conditions, thanks in large part to Arizona’s unique collaborative efforts among water leaders including tribes, cities, agriculture, industry and environmental organizations that developed innovative conservation and mitigation programs as part of the implementation of the Drought Contingency Plan.
The DCP was approved by the Arizona Legislature and signed by Governor Ducey in early 2019 and almost immediately demonstrated its value. Its implementation offset potentially deeper cuts in Arizona’s Colorado River allocation beyond the 192,000 acre-feet that the State annually has stored in Lake Mead for several years.
We will outline the details of those efforts at a joint public briefing on April 29. Arizona water leaders are continuing to work together within Arizona and with partners across the Colorado River basin to develop new approaches to protect and sustain our Colorado River water supply now and into the future.