5. "Megadrought" threatens Arizona water cutbacks

Photo illustration of a dried out section of Lake Mead with a cotton plant and abstract shapes.

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Arizona and the other six Western states that are part of the Colorado River Basin are in the midst of a 22-year "megadrought" that ranks as the region's worst in 1,200 years.

Why it matters: If the situation worsens, restrictions on outdoor residential water use could be only a couple of years away, Arizona Department of Water Resources director Tom Buschatzke tells Axios.

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