How Arizona plans to help reduce the pressure on Lake Mead

With the Colorado River water management community converging on Las Vegas this week, we are likely to learn more about whether or when we’ll see a deal on the long-awaited “Drought Contingency Plan” to reduce Lower Basin use of water from Lake Mead.

Under the DCP, which has been in nearly final form for the better part of a year, the three Lower Basin states – California, Nevada, and Arizona – agree to reduce their use, banking unused water in Lake Mead to keep that reservoir from crashing (details on the agreement here). The catch has long been how water users within each state would divvy up the who’s-not-using-water part of the deal.

The Phoenix City Council will get a briefing tomorrow (Tuesday, Dec. 13) on the details of the deal. The staff report prepared for the meeting’s agenda packet lays out the basics of how this will work within Arizona:


What remains unclear to me is how much money this entails, how much the federal, state, and local contributions might be, and who within Arizona is on board with this approach and who might still object.

Click the “view entire document” link to read the full report, it has lots of helpful detail on the DCP as a whole as well.


  1. I don’t know much, and I’m not against the DCP to ration water for Lake Mead, but is there a chance that they could create artificial rain to solve the decreasing water level? There are actually several successful attempts in producing artificial rain throughout the world such as UAE and China. So, why not attempt it here?

  2. Samson – The drought contingency planning includes active pursuit of this as well, through cloud seeding in the upper Colorado River Basin, where advocates think it could have the most effect. Lots of scientific skepticism, but it’s in the “can’t hurt to try” category.

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