DENVER (AP) — U.S. government water managers say a vital reservoir on the Colorado River will be able to meet the demands of Mexico and Southwestern U.S. states for the next 13 months, but a looming shortage could trigger cutbacks in late 2019.
The Bureau of Reclamation released a report Wednesday on the health of the river and its biggest reservoir, Lake Mead.
The report echoes previous warnings that a long trend toward a drier regional climate coupled with rising demand could drain so much water from Lake Mead that cutbacks would be mandatory.
Mexico, Arizona and Nevada would be hit first.
The river serves 40 million people and 6,300 square miles (16,300 square kilometers) of farmland.
California, Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and Utah also rely on the river.