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US West prepares for possible 1st water shortage declaration

In this July 28, 2014, file photo, lightning strikes over Lake Mead near Hoover Dam that...
In this July 28, 2014, file photo, lightning strikes over Lake Mead near Hoover Dam that impounds Colorado River water at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Arizona. The Bureau of Reclamation is forecasting first-ever water shortages because of falling levels at Lake Mead and says the reservoir could drop so low that it might not be able to generate electricity at Hoover Dam. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)(John Locher | AP)
Published: Apr. 17, 2021 at 9:37 AM PDT
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CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - 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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