Las Vegas, Nevada 2021-06-10 12:14:39 –
Hoover Dam (Reuters) — Created by Hoover Dam, an engineering wonder that symbolizes the rise of America in the 20th century, the reservoir has sunk to the lowest levels ever, highlighting the gravity of extreme drought throughout the western United States.
Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the United States formed in the 1930s when the Colorado River was dammed on the border between Nevada and Arizona, about 30 miles east of Las Vegas. It is important for the water supply of 25 million people, including cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Tucson and Las Vegas.
As of Wednesday at 11:00 pm PDT, the surface of the lake had dropped to 1,071.56 feet above sea level, below the previous record low set on July 1, 2016. It has dropped 140 feet since 2000. This exposes the base – bleached white embankment tub ring from the torch.
Hourly data show levels up to 1071.48 early Thursday morning, but are back to 1,071.56 feet.
The low Lake Mead drought struck the Great Basin, which spans California, the Pacific Northwest, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah, as well as southwestern Arizona and New Mexico, as well as parts of the Northern Plains. It was.
Farmers have abandoned their crops, Nevada has banned about one-third of the lawns in the Las Vegas area, and the Governor of Utah literally asks people to pray for the rain.
Firefighters are facing a worsening situation this summer. After nearly 10,000 fires in California alone during the last wildfire season, 4.2 million acres (1.7 million hectares), about the size of Kuwait, burned.
Droughts are recurring natural disasters, but have recently been exacerbated by the accumulation of extremely dry years for most of this century. Scientists say climate change affected by humans has exacerbated the situation.
The rain that struck the west at the end of 2015, before the previous low water level was set on Lake Mead, was merely a rest from the current 22 years of drought and was the driest of 115 years of record management. It was time. The US Development Agency, which manages water resources in western states.
“Some states, especially parts of California and parts of the southwest, are in very extreme drought,” said Ben Cook, a climate scientist at the Goddard Institute for Space Sciences at NASA.
In his decade of farming in North Dakota, Devin Jacobson has never seen it so dry. Jacobson’s 3,500 acres of predominantly durum wheat, canola, peas and lentils near Crosby have seen little rain of more than 2 inches in late May and 1/4 inch this week since this season. ..
“The other few inches are pretty good, but the current forecast doesn’t have that,” Jacobson said.
Western officials have enacted emergency measures. On Wednesday, the Governor of Arizona declared an emergency after two fires burned more than 145,000 acres and caused evacuation.
“It’s a completely unique situation compared to our historical records,” said Michael Climins, a climate scientist at the University of Arizona. “We are desperately looking for forecasts to see when the monsoon will appear.”
The Pioneer Department is likely to declare for the first time the most extreme shortage of Lake Mead, which will cut water supplies to Arizona, Nevada and Mexico, spokesman Patty Aaron said.
Arizona has the potential to reduce supply by 320,000 acre-foot, Aaron said. According to the Arizona Department of Water Resources, this is a one-year supply to nearly one million households.
California Governor Gavin Newsom has issued a drought emergency declaration to 41 of the state’s 58 counties in the face of scallops, giving the state more control over its water resources.
But in 2015, when California ordered a forced reduction in water usage affecting voters, he so far lacked the steps taken by his predecessor, Jerry Brown.
For now, water management is primarily related to agricultural businesses that consume up to 80% of California’s water. Some farmers are switching to less thirsty crops or fallow land.
The Regional Water Authority, which represents water utilities serving 2 million people in the Sacramento region, recommends drilling more wells for now, a short-term solution, and customers. Voluntarily asks to reduce consumption by 10%.
Jay Land, a professor at the University of California, Davis and director of the Center for Watershed Sciences, said Californians generally adhere to compulsory and voluntary reductions in water usage, and the state rains again.
“There will be a lot of pain in this drought,” Lund said. “It will be catastrophic for some communities and some local industries. It will be catastrophic for some fish species. But it will not be catastrophic for the entire state.”
Reported by Daniel Trotta of Carlsbad, California, Andrea Januta of New York, and Carl Plume of Chicago. Edited by Donna Bryson and Lincoln Feast. © 2021 Thomson Reuters.