Lake Mead supplies water to 25 million people in three states and large areas of farmland, especially in southern California. It is now 40% full. The current 14-year drought is the worst to hit the Colorado River in 1,200 years. The Desert Sun has an excellent in-depth article on the perilous drought situation at Lake Mead.
Water agencies are scrambling to find ways to conserve, recycle, and reuse. Phoenix and Tucson now use less water than they did ten years ago despite population growth. Las Vegas is becoming a leader in creative ways to use less water. Yet much remains to be done. Will the now-developing El Nino bring rain to the Southwest and California? Let’s hope so. However, these are semi-arid and desert areas. Water conservation and recycling needs to be an integral part of the culture going forward .
“Here’s a reservoir that can hold two full years of the flow of the Colorado River, and it’s now down to less than one year’s worth of flow,” said John Entsminger, general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, which supplies water for Las Vegas. “That’s the bank account for 25 million people from Santa Barbara to San Diego. It’s the bank account for the 2 million people I’m responsible for. It’s the bank account for all of central Arizona. With Lake Mead, a picture’s worth a thousand words. You look at that lake and you say: This is a serious issue and we better start taking some proactive measures before things go from bad to worse.”