The current drought in the west took many by surprise and has now revealed the inadequacies of programs designed to distribute Colorado River water. The New York Times reports that this drought is now into its second decade and has shrunk the river and the reservoirs it feeds. Last June, officials cut back on water flowing from Lake Powell to Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the nation, and a source of water for 20 million people in the Southwest. It is expected that in 2015, water from the lake will be rationed, a procedure that has never been implemented. Last January the level was 1,200 feet above sea level and rationing procedures are initiated at 1,075 feet. Studies show the River’s flow was 15% higher in the 1900s.