Lake Mead watch: At lowest levels since 1937

10 Jul
https://www.hcn.org/blogs/goat/images-2/395742119_89e6d6a97f_z.jpg

The white bathtub ring around Lake Mead shows how much water levels have fallen in recent years. Credit: Chris Richards/Flickr.

For almost two decades, the white band of mineral deposits circling Arizona’s Lake Mead like a bathtub ring, has grown steadily taller, a sign that America’s largest manmade water source is in deep trouble. This week it fell to its lowest level since 1937, when Hoover Dam was completed and the reservoir filled. The white bathtub ring around Lake Mead shows how much water levels have fallen in recent years.

The record-setting mark of 1,082 feet is just seven feet shy of the level that would spur more strict water rationing. It’s the latest indication of a worrisome trend affecting the Colorado River Basin: an unholy mix of drought exacerbated by climate change and increasing water use that’s leaving 40 million people who depend on the river for their drinking water and an entire region of water dependent industries thirstier than ever.

Water in Lake Mead has been dropping steadily since 1998, the last year in which the reservoir was near capacity. Currently it’s just 39 percent full, a number that the Bureau of Reclamation predicts will continue to drop.

So begins an update by Sarah Tory at the High Country News blog. You can find the full post by  Tory here: Lake Mead watch: At lowest levels since 1937 — High Country News.

Nothing has changed, it seems, since I wrote a long post last summer about the “groaning” of much of the West (see here).

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