U.S. Water News Online
LAS VEGAS -- Federal officials say snowmelt into the
Colorado River has fallen below average again this year.
From April to July, when the river receives most of its snowmelt
from the Rocky Mountains, the flow of water into Lake Powell was only
67 percent of average, according to the National Weather Service's
Colorado Basin River Forecast Center in Salt Lake City.
The center found about 5.3 million acre feet of water flowed into
Lake Powell during the traditional snowmelt season this year. That's
roughly 3 million acre feet less than the reservoir on the
Utah-Arizona border is scheduled to release in the coming year to
meet water orders in southern Nevada and elsewhere downstream.
"It's yet another dry year in a string of dry years," said Tom
Pagano, water supply forecaster for the U.S. Department of
Agriculture. "It's pretty rough."
The Las Vegas Valley gets about 90 percent of its water supply
from the Colorado River.
The below-average inflow only will worsen the situation at Lake
Powell, which has shrunk to 49 percent of capacity amid seven years
It also will hurt Lake Mead, which is barely half full itself but
won't be allowed to recover until Powell refills significantly.
The news comes as state officials are preparing to convene a
three-week hearing on the Southern Nevada Water Authority's plan to
pipe groundwater to the Las Vegas Valley from White Pine County.
Authority officials say the water is needed to meet demand created by
growth and reduce the community's dependence on the Colorado.
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