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Projections Show Increased Probability Of Water Shortage In Lower Basin

A new federal report has grim projections for the Colorado River in the coming years.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation forecast a 57 percent chance of a shortage in the Lower Basin in 2020. That’s up from earlier projections. If that happens Arizona would face cutbacks in its supply of Colorado River water stored in Lake Mead.

This year is one of the driest years in more than a decade. Another year like it could bring down the reservoir level by 20 feet or more by mid-2020.

Whether Arizona will actually lose water won’t be decided till next year. The report comes as Arizona and other Southwest states try to devise a drought contingency plan aimed at reducing the state’s consumption of water in hopes of avoiding an eventual shortage declaration.

Will Stone grew up with the sounds of public radio. As a senior field correspondent, he strives to tell the same kind of powerful stories that got him into the business — whether that means trudging through some distant corner of the Sonoran Desert or uncovering an unknown injustice right down the street. Since joining the KJZZ newsroom in 2015, he has covered political scandals, fights over the future of energy, and efforts to care for some of Arizona’s most vulnerable communities. His pieces have also aired on national programs like Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Here & Now and Marketplace. Before coming to KJZZ, he reported for public radio stations in Nevada and Connecticut. Stone received his degree in English literature from Haverford College, where he also wrote about the arts and culture scene in Philadelphia. After graduating, he interned at NPR West in Culver City, California, where he learned from some of the network’s veteran reporters and editors. When he doesn’t have a mic in hand, Stone enjoys climbing mountains, running through his central Phoenix neighborhood and shamelessly promoting his cat, Barry.