Lake Mead is nearing dead pool status after water levels reach a new historic low

Wednesday, June 22, 2022
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Original content created by news.limited staff

Dead Pools and Drought Conditio

A long history of persistent drought conditions has led to the depletion of Lake Mead. The increased water demands of the southwest region‚ combined with climate change‚ have caused this situation to worsen. If water levels continue to drop‚ Lake Mead could soon become a dead pool‚ a condition in which the lake is completely devoid of water. A dead pool can take years to reach‚ but it is definitely possible.

Lake Meads' water levels dropped this week to an all-time low. The nation's largest reservoir was less than 150 feet from a dead pool. Dead pools are when water is unable to flow downstream of the dam. Lake Meads water level On Wednesday‚ the reservoir was at 1‚044.03 feet. This is its lowest elevation since it was first filled in 1930s. The reservoir will plunge below 895 feet A possibility that is still many years away -- Lake Mead could reach dead pool. This would have huge consequences for millions across Arizona‚ California and Nevada‚ as well as parts of Mexico. Robert Glennon is an Arizona University emeritus Professor who studies water policy and law. Lake Meads has been in decline for the last two decades due to persistent drought conditions‚ which were exacerbated over the past 20 years by climate change‚ increased water demand across the Southwest United States and climate change. Glennon stated that although the reservoir could become a "dead pool"‚ it will likely be several years before reaching this level. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation‚ along with water managers from the Southwest United States‚ are trying to control the flow of water into Colorado River. Regulate water usage among the states of the region. These measures were taken to replenish Lake Mead which was formed on the Colorado River at the Arizona-Nevada boundary when Hoover Dam was constructed in the 1930s. Although a dead pool does not necessarily mean there is no water in the reservoir at all‚ it could indicate that water levels are low enough to prevent hydroelectric power production. Glennon stated that electricity generation in western reservoirs is a problem when the water level drops. He explained that when a reservoir becomes depleted there will be less water flowing through the turbines‚ and therefore less pressure for them to spin. This means less electricity is produced. Glennon stated that Lake Mead's water levels have experienced an unexpectedly large decline in recent years. Lake Mead's elevation was around the same height last year at approximately 1‚069 feet. According to the Bureau of Reclamation. The water level at June's end in 2020 was approximately 1‚087 feet. In late April‚ a Lake Mead intake valve was exposed by the declining water levels in 1971‚ the first Nevada customer was supplied by this company. In 1971‚ the first supply was made to Nevada customers. Two sets of human remains have been discovered Because the shoreline recedes‚ it is causing their decline. Glennon stated that the Lake Mead situation is forcing officials in local communities to make drastic steps to restore the reservoir. This is especially true given the fact that climate change will likely worsen drought conditions across the West‚ and continue to impact how much water flows into Colorado River. He said that this is the 23rd consecutive year of drought. We don't know whether it will be a drought lasting 23 years‚ 50 years‚ or 100 years. It is impossible to predict what will turn it around.