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Arizona faces another round of water cuts while farmers still feeling effects from previous reductions

The new cuts will be a 21% reduction in the state’s total Colorado River water allotment
Marana water system
Posted at 5:14 AM, Aug 17, 2022

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Lake Mead will operate at a Tier-2a shortage at the beginning of next year meaning Arizona will have to forfeit more water.

Farmers in Southern Arizona have been dealing with previous cuts from the Colorado River water supply since January.

“The CAIDD district in Eloy and the Maricopa Stanfield Irrigation and Drainage District, we lost approximately 300,000-acre-feet of CAP water at the first of this year and that represented about 60% of our irrigation water, so now we’re having to learn life without CAP water,” said Arnoldo Burruel with Burruel & Burruel Farming Partnership.

Arnoldo Burruel has farmed for almost 40 years.

He sits on the board of the Central Arizona Irrigation and Drainage District.

“That’s a 75,000-acre irrigation district and at our height we were selling a little over 400,000-acre-feet of water. Now we’re down to 140,000-acre-feet of water if we pump our wells really hard,” Burruel said.

The new cuts will be a 21% reduction in the state’s total Colorado River water allotment.

“It’s got long tentacles and we’re not near anywhere the end of the cutbacks if things don’t improve soon,” said Burruel.

And improvement is in the hands of Mother Nature. With an ongoing drought, Lake Mead hit historic lows in June and levels are only expected to get worse.

“It doesn’t have the same cure as say, a generated short fall. This one is real and how long is it going to last? Nobody knows,” Burreul said.

Burreul said farmers in Southern Arizona received grants to drill more wells, but those wells have only replaced about 4% of the water they lost.

The newest round of cuts will take place in the beginning of 2023.

Faith Abercrombie is a reporter for KGUN 9. Before coming to KGUN, Faith worked as a videographer for the Phoenix Children's Hospital Foundation and as a reporter and producer on the youth suicide documentary, "Life is..." on Arizona PBS.
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