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Drought, Water Shortages Spur Government
To Cut Releases Into Lower Colorado River

Aug. 19, 2013, 4:00 AM

PHOENIX—Water shortages in the Colorado River basin have prompted the Bureau of Reclamation to cut back for the first time the amount of water it releases from Lake Powell into the river’s lower basin and Lake Mead, which supplies water to Las Vegas and other areas in the Southwest.

Reclamation issued its projection of water releases Aug. 16, marking the first time annual releases from Lake Powell have been below 8.23 million acre feet.

The new release amount—7.48 million acre feet—is 750,000 acre feet less than the customary release under a 2007 agreement between lower- and upper-river basin states that ...