A historic drought has triggered water cuts from the Colorado River, with Arizona farmers feeling the greatest impact

Earlier this spring, the Bureau of Reclamation, the agency that oversees water management, projected that high temperatures and a historic drought would trigger mandatory water cuts in Arizona and Nevada this summer. The prediction has come true: For the first time, the federal government has declared a water shortage on the Colorado River, which supplies water to more than 40 million people living across seven states and Mexico, and announced that first tier water cuts would begin on January 1, CNN reports. As a result, Arizona will see an 18 percent reduction in its water supply from the river, with the greatest impact affecting agriculture. Nevada will see a 7 percent reduction, though the state had already reduced its water deliveries and was expecting no changes. A second tier of cuts could come in 2023, worsening impact on agriculture and municipal water in additional states. As one climate scientist puts it, “Climate change is water change, and many of the worst impacts we’re going to see out of climate change are through changes in the water cycle.” As we’ve reported, a lack of water is already impacting what we’re seeing (or not seeing) at the farmers’ market.

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