The City of Williams west of Flagstaff is in the process of drilling a new well. Like many places in the Southwest, it’s facing drought and rising demand. But there’s another reason water supply is a challenge in Williams. A fluke of geology has forced the city to take the lead in the hunt for groundwater on the Colorado Plateau.
Federal water managers are projecting Lake Mead will drop to levels in January 2017 that could force supply cuts to Arizona and Nevada.
Arizona's water allocation could be cut 11.4 percent and Nevada's by about 4.3 percent.
A closely watched U.S. Bureau of Reclamation report released Monday predicts water levels will be just 2 feet above a trigger point next January on the Colorado River reservoir supplying much of the Southwest's drinking water.
The so-called interim guidelines chart a decline leading to a declaration of a shortage the following year.
Drought is a universally understood phenomenon — especially here in the arid Southwest. But what does drought really mean? To help define the term, and the concept, scientists use several commonly used drought indices. Each summarizes thousands of data points on rainfall and other information into a single handy number.
Across the Southwest more and more bears have shown up in people’s kitchens, garages and flower beds. Wildlife officials in Colorado say in that state alone they had to euthanize 133 “problem bears” last year. And in Arizona at least a dozen bears have been euthanized, and scores of sightings have many people rattled.