“The latest outlook for Lake Powell is troubling,” said Reclamation’s Upper Colorado Basin Regional Director Wayne Pullan in a news release. “This highlights the importance of continuing to work collaboratively with the Basin States, Tribes and other partners toward solutions.”
Lake Powell and nearby 미드 호수
, the nation’s largest reservoir
, have drained at an alarming rate this year
. The two reservoirs fed by the Colorado River watershed provide a critical supply of drinking water and irrigation for many across the region
, including rural farms
, ranches and native communities
In late July
, Lake Powell had fallen to roughly
3,554 feet in elevation — just
33% of capacity — according to the US Bureau of Reclamation
, below the previous all-time low set in
The projections for water levels in Lake Mead, which provides water to 25 million people in the West, are also bleak as climate change, drought and poor runoff continue to sap the river’s supply.
에 2025, the updated projections now show a
66% chance that Lake Mead could drop below the critical threshold of
1,025 feet above sea level
. If water levels stay below that threshold
, 그것은 것 trigger deep water cuts
, potentially affecting millions of people in California
, 애리조나, Nevada and Mexico
There is also a greater than 1-in-5 chance that water levels in Lake Mead will fall below 1,000 feet above sea level in 2025. That is barely 100 feet above what is considered “dead pool,” the level at which water can no longer flow through Hoover Dam.
The new models come just over a month after the Colorado River system’s first-ever shortage was declared
, triggering water cuts that will be felt next year in Arizona
, Nevada and Mexico
Drought is evaporating water resources
The Colorado River Basin and much of the Southwest are in the midst of a climate change-fueled megadrought, which has stretched on for more than 20 연령.
A study published in the journal Science in 2020 found that the period from 2000-2018 was the driest 19-year stretch since the late 1500s.
And matters have only gotten worse in the years since
. The dryness the region has experienced from
2020 and into
2021 is designated as exceptional
— the most severe level of drought
– in both the paleoclimate and historical records
, 에 따르면 study published Tuesday by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s drought task force
캘리포니아, 네바다, 유타, 콜로라도, Arizona and New Mexico experienced exceptional drought since 2020, NOAA’s study shows. It found that the current drought is expected to continue into 2022 and perhaps beyond.
As drought conditions cause water levels to drop
, billions of kilowatt hours of hydroelectricity that power homes from Nebraska to Arizona are also at risk