First water cuts in US West supply to hammer Arizona farmers

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CASA GRANDE, Ariz. (AP) — The Colorado River has been a go-to source of water for cities, tribes and farmers in the U.S. West for decades. But climate change, drought and increased demand are taking a toll. Next week, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is expected to declare the first-ever mandatory cuts from the river for 2022 as key reservoirs fall to historic lows. The projection will hit farmers in central Arizona the hardest because of longstanding priority systems. Pinal County is Arizona’s top producer of cotton, barley and livestock. Farmers there have been finding ways to use water more efficiently but increasingly will turn to pumping groundwater. 

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