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Federal officials meet in NM to counter water crisis on Colorado River

Blue water pools behind a white concrete dam, surrounded by bare red rock
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
Lake Powell sits at 26% full after two decades of drought.

Officials with the U.S. Interior Department met in Santa Fe, N.M., last week to outline a plan to counter the worsening crisis facing the Colorado River.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and others attended the Colorado River Symposium to highlight actions the agency is taking to prevent the river’s reservoirs from falling to critically low levels that would threaten water supplies and power generation.

The river supplies water to 40 million people in the West, and officials say allocations next year from Lake Mead will be reduced for the Lower Basin States and Mexico.

They say they’re developing new guidelines, which include emergency drought operations and preparing to make additional reductions in 2023 as needed.

They’re also evaluating the bypass tubes at Glen Canyon Dam for possible modification to increase water delivery capacity during periods of low water on Lake Powell.