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America’s Winter Lettuce Hub Set to Bear Brunt of Water Cuts

  • Arizona will see 21% of its water from Colorado River withheld
  • California escapes cuts in latest US water conservation effort
The Colorado River in Bullhead City, Arizona, in June 2021.

The Colorado River in Bullhead City, Arizona, in June 2021.

Photographer: Kyle Grillot/Bloomberg
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Arizona, which grows most of the lettuce eaten in the US each winter, will be losing about a fifth of the water it gets from the Colorado River as drought and climate change diminish the key water basin.

The US will withhold 21% of Arizona’s annual water allocation from the Colorado River in 2023 as part of conservation efforts announced Tuesday by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Reclamation. The measure is the latest action aimed at dealing with the first-ever water shortage in the river basin. Lake Mead and Lake Powell -- the two largest US reservoirs -- stand at historically low levels and combined are at 28% of their capacity, officials said.