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Wet Winter Likely To Keep Colorado River Out Of Shortage Next Year

For the moment, Mother Nature is smiling on the Colorado River. Enough snow has piled up in the mountains that feed the river to stave off a dreaded shortage declaration for one more year, according to federal projections released Friday afternoon. Just a month ago, forecasters expected Lake Mead to start 2020 about 17 feet lower than it is now, below the trigger point for a first-ever federal shortage declaration on the drought-stricken river.

Water War In California: Two Agencies Fight Over Colorado River Drought Plan With A Crucial Deadline Looming

California remains a holdout on a drought emergency plan for the Colorado River that is due next Tuesday by all seven river states. Holding up the plan has been a fight between two powerful water agencies in Southern California. The drought contingency plan is designed to produce voluntary cuts that would keep the river and Lake Mead from reaching critically low levels. If the plan doesn’t get finalized, the federal government could step in and force mandatory cutbacks instead of voluntary ones for a river that serves 40 million people and some 5 million acres of farmland.

Wet Winter Likely To Keep Colorado River Out Of Shortage Next Year

For the moment, Mother Nature is smiling on the Colorado River. Enough snow has piled up in the mountains that feed the river to stave off a dreaded shortage declaration for one more year, according to federal projections released Friday afternoon. Just a month ago, forecasters expected Lake Mead to start 2020 about 17 feet lower than it is now, below the trigger point for a first-ever federal shortage declaration on the drought-stricken river. But several weeks of winter storms across the Mountain States have cut the lake’s expected decline by Jan. 1 roughly in half, leaving the reservoir east of Las Vegas safely above the shortage line, according to the new figures from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.