Defining the Geopolitics of a Thirsty WorldSM
Lake Mead May Go Dry By 2021: “We are beyond the sustainable limit of the Colorado system”

According to a recent study as reported by CNET News, there is a 50 percent chance that Lake Mead – created by the Hoover Dam and the Colorado River – will go dry by 2021 because of escalating human demand and climate change.  As noted by the authors:  “Today, we are at or beyond the sustainable limit of the Colorado system.” The article continues:

“…By 2017, there is a 50 percent chance that the reservoir could drop so low that Hoover Dam could no longer produce hydroelectric power.

…The disappearance of the manmade lake would create a tidal wave of ill effects for the southwestern U.S. The lake provides water for large cities like Los Angeles and Las Vegas, as well as for several agricultural interests. The power also keeps on the lights in that region of the country. Imagine Los Angeles on a summer day with sporadic air conditioning and only a trickle of water coming out of the faucet. Then imagine that goes for a week….

“Make no mistake, this water problem is not a scientific abstraction, but rather one that will impact each and every one of us that live in the Southwest.”

“…The level of the lake has been dropping for years… Barnett and Pierce estimated that there is a 10 percent chance that the lake could go dry as early as 2014.

…Water allocation from the dam has been a political flash point for California, Nevada, and Arizona for years.

…Currently, the Colorado River system, which includes Lake Mead and nearby Lake Powell, is running a deficit of 1 million acre feet of water per year. An acre foot of water is the amount of water that it would take to cover an acre of land with a foot of water. It is enough water for 8 million people.

Other studies have forecast reductions of between 10 percent and 30 percent over the next 30 to 50 years in the Colorado River system. Such a decline could affect the water supply of between 12 million and 36 million people….”

Pretty damning (or should it be damming?) thoughts…

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 13th, 2008 at 5:39 am and is filed under Colorado River, United States.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  Both comments and pings are currently closed. 

Comments are closed.

© 2023 Water Politics LLC.  'Water Politics', 'water. politics. life', and 'Defining the Geopolitics of a Thirsty World' are service marks of Water Politics LLC.