A Joint Colorado River Shortage Preparedness Briefing is scheduled for April 29

A Joint Colorado River Shortage Preparedness Briefing is Scheduled for April 29

A Joint Colorado River Shortage Preparedness Briefing is Scheduled for April 29
April 27, 2021

On April 15, the operators of the Colorado River system – the Bureau of Reclamation – made clear what everyone familiar with the drought-stricken system has seen coming as the extraordinarily dry winter of 2020/21 has lingered on:

That by the end of 2021, water levels at the system’s Lake Mead reservoir likely will fall to a point that a “Tier 1” shortage declaration likely would be triggered for the 2022 deliveries of Colorado River water.

Signing of the Drought Contingency Plan in 2019

The “Tier” system of shortage declarations is a function of the Drought Contingency Plan adopted by the seven states in the Colorado River Basin and the U.S. The Republic of Mexico also is a partner in the shortage-sharing with the U.S.

As a result, Arizona’s customary annual delivery of 2.8 million acre-feet of river water will be cut by 512,000 acre-feet, which will be absorbed by customers of the Central Arizona Project. For the most part, that means less water for agriculture in central and south-central areas of the State.

The Central Arizona Project is the largest aqueduct system in the country, stretching 336 miles.

How, exactly, the shortage declaration impacts certain Arizona water users while leaving others intact depends on a number of factors, mostly related to the complex priority system governing Arizona’s Colorado River allocation.

To help sort through those complexities, the Arizona Department of Water Resources and the Central Arizona Project, which operates the 336-mile CAP canal system, have scheduled a joint public briefing for April 29 at 9 a.m.


The briefing will include presentations that should answer questions regarding the hydrological and climate-related conditions that have contributed to the shortage declaration, as well as the on-going efforts now underway to keep Lake Mead from descending to unstable surface levels.

Photo courtesy of Jordan Evans/Cronkite News

Specifically, the briefing agenda will include:

  • An update on Colorado River conditions and forecasting
  • An outline of Arizona Drought Contingency Plan implementation
  • A summary of impacts of shortage on Central Arizona Project water supplies

What: A Joint Colorado River Shortage Preparedness Briefing

When: Thursday, April 29, 9 am-11 a.m.

How: Livestreamed via a link to be posted at cap-az.com

For further information on drought preparedness in Arizona see here: https://bit.ly/3xtPpCi