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  • redshoe77 redshoe77 Aug 12, 2014 8:00 PM Flag

    Lake Mead drying up

    Hey willie t,
    Changing your mind any about global warming yet?
    LAS VEGAS (AP) — Once-teeming Lake Mead marinas are idle as a 14-year drought steadily drops water levels to historic lows. Officials from nearby Las Vegas are pushing conservation but also are drilling a new pipeline to keep drawing water from the lake.
    Hundreds of miles away, farmers who receive water from the lake behind Hoover Dam are preparing for the worst.
    The receding shoreline at one of the main reservoirs in the vast Colorado River water system is raising concerns about the future of a network serving a perennially parched region home to 40 million people and 4 million acres of farmland.
    Marina operators, water managers and farmers who for decades have chased every drop of water across the booming Southwest and part of Mexico are closely tracking the reservoir water level already at its lowest point since it was first filled in the 1930s.
    "We just hope for snow and rain up in Colorado, so it'll come our way," said marina operator Steve Biggs, referring to precipitation in the Rockies that flows down the Colorado River to help fill the reservoir separating Nevada and Arizona.
    By 2016, continued drought could trigger cuts in water deliveries to both states. While water authorities say they've been saving water for potential dry days, the prospect of the first cuts is already prompting action.
    "I've downsized in the last couple of years, probably a good thing the way this water shortage is going," said farmer Dennis Bagnall, who has planted just 225 of the 1,500 acres that are typically green this time of year on his farm south of Phoenix.
    Last week, officials announced an $11 million pilot program involving the federal government and water agencies in Denver, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix to pay farmers, cities and industries to reduce river water use.
    "We can certainly hope for better conditions than we've experienced in recent times, but we have to actively and continue to plan for the worst case," said Michael J. Lacey, director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources.
    This week, an update from the federal Bureau of Reclamation, the keeper of the Colorado River network's dams and reservoirs, will help set the course for water deliveries for the next two years. Administrators say they are confident they can meet current commitments next year.
    Federal officials and water administrators in metro areas such as Las Vegas and Phoenix say they're committed to finding new ways to make every drop of river water count — from cloud seeding to pipelines to new reservoirs to desalination plants.
    They point to agreements to leave surpluses unused in wet years, share pain in dry years and buy water designated for farms for city use.
    But they're all watching Lake Mead, the biggest in a Colorado River basin that supplies water to California, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and part of Mexico. The states get annual allotments dating to the Colorado River Compact of 1922.
    Over the years, the amount hasn't kept pace with a post-World War II development boom in the Southwest, and pressure has increased with drought gripping the region for almost 15 years.
    The effect of increased demand and diminished supply is visible on Lake Mead's canyon walls. A white mineral band often compared with a bathtub ring marks the depleted water level.
    The lake has dropped to 1,080 feet above sea level this year — down almost the width of a football field from a high of 1,225 feet in 1983.

    In this July 18, 2014 photo, the bathtub ring of light minerals that delineates the high water mark …
    A projected level of 1,075 feet in January 2016 would trigger cuts in water deliveries to Arizona and Nevada.
    At 1,000 feet, drinking water intakes would go dry to Las Vegas, a city of 2 million residents and a destination for 40 million tourists per year that is almost completely dependent on the reservoir

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    • red,
      The Lake Mead water levels have absolutely nothing to do with supposed 'global warming'. It has everything to do with population/agriculture growth in Arizona and California. Drought cycles are completely normal events based roughly on the PDO phase. Right now the PDO is bringing dryer than normal conditions to the west and wetter than normal conditions to the east. That switches about every 10-20 years. The massive consumption of water from this region was rose from almost nothing in the mid 1930's to completely unsustainable today. This albatross has been known for decades and with every drought cycle the situation became worse. This time, this drought and ferocious water consumption rates will likely break the camels back and permanent water shortages will develop for all the rivers consumers even when the weather cycle returns to a more normal condition.
      It's just too much consumption of finite resources and failed government resource policies. It has nothing to do with your failed global warming hypothesis.

      • 1 Reply to jj27713
      • JJ,
        We know all about your skeptical ideas on global warming and we know they are at odds with anything scientific or rationality. I don't think it is just God trying punish Willie T. in Las Vegas because the same thing is happening in Calif. and all over the Southwest. The lakes are so low in Texas that some cities are drinking recycled potty water. Maybe when you boys get thirsty you will open your minds a little to science.

    • the salt-lake (utah) is going too. That lake in the former ussr is gone (almost). I don't think the naysayers understand the difference between climate-change or global warming. ///// The naysayers coined the term "global warming" just so every winter they can honestly say the earth is not warming. (real men of genius). ///// In a loittle while all the pipes that run down from Lake-Mead to California will be dry. Before that happens they need to desalinate the Pacific's water and pipe it to Lake Mead. It could be as simple as, every moroing when the sun comes up, the water starts pumping uphill. //// And while we are at it, may I suggest Chad Bodele. Just kidding. The name sounds cool. But actually the Bodele depression in Chad was once a very big lake. Now it is just a humongous depression in the earth waiting to be filled up with water from the Mediterranean. Via a canal. With generators for electricity. Then the europeans can build that 100-GW solar farm across N.Africa. to supply S.Europe with cheap electricity. And when you think about it, N.Africa would be the ideal place for businesses. Lots of nice sunny beaches. Dry air.

    • Who would think that a reservoir, in the desert, that; "supplies water to California, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and part of Mexico" would run low?

      BTW, seems the only reference to global warming or climate change in your post comes from YOU.


      • 1 Reply to pkeberly
      • rz,
        Salt Lake is the remnant of a much larger lake from 30,000 years ago...from the depths of the last Ice Age. It was formed from glacial runoff and cooler and wetter climates from that period. As the Earth warmed up from the Ice Age, the glacier runoff dropped to near zero and the weather warmed up to desert conditions in the area. The lake is continuing to dry up over time, though it fluctuates many feet from year to year depending on the weather and the rains. It has been shrinking continually for 15,000 years and has nothing to do with 'global warming'.
        The Russian Aral Sea is drying up entirely because the feed rivers were diverted to the desert region for agriculture (very similar to Lake Mead). A completely man-made problem, but again no 'global warming' involved.

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