September 5, 2016--Fed's back off from Lake Mead water demand (Tucson.com)

It sounded too good to be true — an official forecast that 2016 water use in Arizona, California and Nevada will be the lowest since 1992. That forecast from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation was too good to be true — by the bureau’s own admission. It was widely reported recently as a sign of major progress toward conservation. But what the bureau calls its more accurate forecast, while still showing progress, is significantly higher, predicting water use in the states will be its lowest in 11 years — not 24. For those three Lower Colorado River Basin states, the bureau predicts their 2016 total use will be 7.29 million acre-feet of water. That’s enough to serve about twice that many homes with water for a year. The forecast comes from the bureau’s monthly study that looks up to 24 months ahead to predict how high Lake Mead and other reservoirs will be in a given month. It’s still good news, the bureau said — about 200,000 acre-feet less water out of Lake Mead this year than the states have the right to take. It’s also about 150,000 acre-feet less than the states used in 2015. That’s due to conservation efforts by the three states, bureau officials say. Water officials across the West say the states need to conserve more to keep Lake Mead from dropping so low as to require severe cutbacks in water deliveries. To view the full article visit the Tucson.com.