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In Drought-stricken West, Officials Weigh Emergency Actions

An aerial view of Lake Powell on the Colorado River along the Arizona-Utah border on Sept. 11, 2019. A dam holds back Lake Powell, one of the largest man-made reservoirs in the country. Federal officials sent seven western states a letter this week warning them that they're considering cutting the amount of water that flows through the Colorado River to the Southwest to maintain Lake Powell and prevent it from shrinking to a point at which Glen Canyon Dam could no longer produce hydropower. Consideration of what would be an unprecedented move comes sooner than water officials expected as they reckon with the effects drought and climate change have on their urban and agricultural customers. (AP Photo/John Antczak, FIle )
An aerial view of Lake Powell on the Colorado River along the Arizona-Utah border on Sept. 11, 2019. A dam holds back Lake Powell, one of the largest man-made reservoirs in the country. Federal officials sent seven western states a letter this week warning them that they're considering cutting the amount of water that flows through the Colorado River to the Southwest to maintain Lake Powell and prevent it from shrinking to a point at which Glen Canyon Dam could no longer produce hydropower. Consideration of what would be an unprecedented move comes sooner than water officials expected as they reckon with the effects drought and climate change have on their urban and agricultural customers. (AP Photo/John Antczak, FIle )
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Flagstaff, Ariz. (AP) -- Federal officials say it may be necessary to reduce water deliveries to users on the Colorado River to prevent the shutdown of a huge dam that supplies hydropower to some 5 million customers across the U.S. West.

Officials had hoped snowmelt would buoy Lake Powell on the Arizona-Utah border to ensure its dam could continue to supply power. But snow is already melting, and hotter-than-normal temperatures and prolonged drought are further shrinking the lake.