Lake Mead At Lowest Level Since 1956: Water Users Conserving, Hoping For Rain Next Year


"The Hoover Dam holds back Lake Mead (left photo accented by a rainbow) in 1983, the year its highest water elevation is recorded. By 2009 (right), Lake Mead's water-elevation level has dramatically declined, revealing the chalky-white structure of Hoover Dam." Caption & image credit:Arizona Republic

Falling water levels in Arizona's Lake Mead have Arizona citizens facing an historic turning point, brought on by a 12-year regional drought - effects, as pictured. (Water consumption in the Colorado River watershed has increased greatly since the 1950's, when levels were last this low.) With the reservoir having dropped 10 feet since last summer, water managers and consumers are scrambling to conserve, hoping to avoid severe cutbacks. Arizona farmers especially are at risk. Eventually, all water consuming industries and even residential property values could be. Those waiting for a return to a 'normal' precipitation regime face the invisible elephant in the room: climate change.As a recent story in the Arizona Republic explains, it's all about buying time, waiting for the rain.

"It's time that we need," said David Modeer, general manager of the Central Arizona Project, which moves water from the Colorado River to Phoenix and Tucson. "The reservoirs have shown they're resilient. After a 12-year drought, they're still half-full. What we do now will be worth it to stay out of a shortage."
And if the hoped-for increase in precipitation does not come...landscape watering and swimming pools, say bye bye!

Additional posts about Lake Mead.
Graphic Of The Day: Historical Water Use And Scheduled Depletions ...
Colorado River Reservoirs Could Have 50-50 Chance of Running Dry ...
Interactive Map Shows Worldwide Water and Energy Tug-o-War
Las Vegas Strip Could Run Dry by 2021

Tags: Arizona | Nevada

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