The US Bureau of Reclamation will cut water releases from Lake Powell by 750,000 acre feet due to the worst 14 year drought in 100 years. Two huge reservoirs, Lake Powell on the Arizona / Utah border and Lake Mead near Las Vegas store water from the Colorado River and are the primary source of water for 36 million people in seven states, including 22 native American tribes, 4 million acres of farmland, and national parks.
The move could trigger an “unprecedented water crisis within the next few years,” the business coalition group Protect the Flows told USA Today, as reductions could have major ramifications for farmers and businesses downstream that depend on those flows, as well as on hydroelectric power generation.
Lake Mead will continue having lower water levels, due to the drought and less water from Lake Powell. It is getting close to the threshold for a formal water shortage to be declared. Their water authority is building a third intake in case water levels drop below the first intake.
“It’s essentially a race for us,” Scott Huntley of the Southern Nevada Water Authority told National Geographic, because the lake likely “is going to drop more precipitously than seen in the past.”
Sure, droughts are a normal part of the cycle of nature. But the drought is exacerbated by climate change and by the millions of people who rely on Colorado River water. She canna take much more of this, captain.