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Lower basin states unveil new water plan to bolster levels in Lake Mead

Lake Mead intake.JPG
Heather Sackett
Aspen Journalism
The famous “bathtub ring” surrounding Lake Mead shows the declining water levels in the reservoir in December 2021. Using the 500+ Plan, the lower basin states are aiming to save water in the reservoir.

Lake Mead, in southern Nevada, saw extremely low levels of water in 2021.

And so the lower basin states of California, Nevada, and Arizona developed a plan to address the diminishing inflow from the Colorado River.

It’s called the 500+ Plan.

The title refers to the goal of saving 500,000 acre-feet of water per year in Lake Mead.

And the plan is fully funded after just four months of discussions.

Aspen Journalism Managing Editor Heather Sackett recently wrote an article about the 500+ Plan. She also references a recent white paper that examined the window that water managers now have to come up with innovative solutions.

Aspen Public Radio reporter Halle Zander sat down with Sackett to discuss the plan and how it compares to conservation programs in Colorado and other upper basin states.

Halle is an award-winning journalist and the All Things Considered anchor for Aspen Public Radio. She has been recognized for her work by the Public Media Journalists Association and the Colorado Broadcasters Association. Before she began working full-time with Aspen Public Radio in September 2021, Halle was a freelance broadcast journalist for both Aspen Public Radio and KDNK. Halle studied environmental analysis at Pitzer College. She was an educator at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies and at the Andy Zanca Youth Empowerment program, where she taught youth radio and managed a weekly public affairs show.