California has stored water in Lake Mead, now plans to withdraw it

Lake Mead bathtub ring
Lake Mead bathtub ring

The California drought may lead to California withdrawing water it has saved in Lake Mead, which is already low. However, California isn’t stealing the water, Rather, this is water it parked there.

“The people making an issue of this only see the negative, because water is being taken out,” he said. “But if Met [The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California] hadn’t banked it in the first place, that water wouldn’t be there.”

Nevada, Arizona, and Mexico have also banked water in Lake Mead. Nevada made some bad choices many years ago over Lake Mead when not many lived there and Vegas was not yet a gambling mecca. It only gets about 7% of the water from Lake Mead, yet this accounts for most of Las Vegas’ water.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority wants to pump billions of gallons of groundwater from hundreds of miles away. Environmentalists have sued to stop them. The project would cost most than $15 billion and it’s not clear where the money would come from.

A giant tunnel is being drilled now to create an intake pipeline from the bottom of Lake Mead to Vegas. This is a precaution in case water levels drop below two higher intakes. It is an expensive, dangerous, challenging task that has already had delays.