In Arizona, one utility has a front row seat to Colorado River crisis
Tobyn Pilot took a few crunchy footsteps through the rough red dirt near the edge of a towering cliff. Pilot, an operator at the water plant in Page, Arizona, pulled out a hefty collection of keys and unlocked a tiny plywood-paneled shed just a few feet from the brink. The building is barely bigger than an outhouse, but it’s a pivotal part of keeping the taps flowing. … Hundreds of feet below, the Colorado River calmly chugged along. It’s here, on the dusty precipice, that water from that river is redirected into the Page’s city pipes. … Page pulls its water from Lake Powell, the nation’s second-largest reservoir. It’s held back by the behemoth Glen Canyon Dam. Inside the dam, a pipe siphons water to Page as it passes from the reservoir to the river on the other side. Drought and steady demand have drained the reservoir to historic lows, putting Page’s drinking water system in jeopardy.