Heavy snowfall improves Arizona's Colorado River water forecast

By Alex Hager/KUNC
Published: Saturday, May 6, 2023 - 9:04am

Boats on Lake Powell
Alex Hager/KUNC
Boats sit in Lake Powell, the nation's second-largest reservoir, on April 10, 2023. The lake is filled with melted snow from the Rocky Mountains.

After heavy snowfall this winter, top water officials in Arizona are cautiously optimistic about Colorado River supplies — at least for this year.

Much of Arizona’s water comes from melted snow in the Rocky Mountains, hundreds of miles away. There was a lot of that snow this winter, a positive change after a string of dry years.

Arizona Department of Water Resources Director Tom Buschatzke says conservation is still important for the nation’s two largest reservoirs.

“We can be right back down into some serious issues if we don’t do the things we need to do to protect both Lake Powell and Lake Mead,” he said.

Buschatzke said negotiations about water cutbacks are still ongoing between the seven states that share the river’s water, but said he wasn’t ready to provide any updates.