Grim outlook for vital Colorado River

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DENVER, Col. (KGWN) - Forecasters say this year's outlook for the most important river in the Southwestern U.S. remains grim.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that April storms failed to produce much snow in the mountains that feed the Colorado River.

Lake Powell, one of two huge reservoirs that store and distribute the river water, is expected to get only 43 percent of the average inflow.

But officials say Lake Powell and its companion, Lake Mead, will have enough water to avoid mandatory cutbacks this year. The Colorado River serves about 40 million people and 6,300 square miles of farmland in seven U.S. states and Mexico.

An 18-year drought has reduced the river's flow. Researchers have said climate change is also to blame.