AUG 26, 2021 1:09 PM PDT

Hoover Dam is going dry: Water shortage declared for the first time ever in the USA

WRITTEN BY: Timothy James

We have all heard of the famous “bathtub ring” around Lake Mead (AZ, MN) and many have seen photos and videos of the progressively lowering lake. A popular reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the Las Vegas Strip, Lake Mead is a destination for many visiting the state or even the US in general.

Since 2000 the water elevation of Lake Mead has dropped over 143 feet, and by 2016 the water reached a record low. However, few still fail to grasp how dire the situation really is. Millions of people rely on the hydropower and water produced by the nation’s largest reservoir. The Las Vegas, Phoenix, and ever Los Angeles metropolitan areas, a combined population of over 3 million people, are all vying for the lake’s precious resources. With the declaration of a water shortage, Las Vegas and Phoenix will have to implement water conservation strategies. Las Vegas as already outlawed all “useless grass” to prevent using precious recourses for lawn maintenance. To have such a shortage is concerning considering the fact that both Las Vegas and Phoenix are two of the fastest growing cities in the United States. At what point do we begin to make tough choices about the longevity of our desert cities, and the sustainability of our suburban developments?

 Lake Mead has not been at full capacity since 2001. That means that for twenty years we have been taking more from the lake then has been replaced by snow melt runoff.  The snowpack last winter was nearly nonexistent in the Rockies causing ripple effects throughout the entire Colorado river system.  At the same time the West has been embroiled in the worst drought in 1200 years. These factors combined with temperatures exceeding 118 degrees Fahrenheit have caused the lake to drop below 35% capacity. This drop also means that the turbines producing power at the dam are not functioning at full capacity. While there is no telling what kind of effect the potential loss of hydroelectric power will have on the infrastructure of Nevada, Arizona, and Southern California, it is clear that the water shortage problem will begin to have major effects in the American Southwest.

Sources: Las Vegas Journal, WSJ, CNN, The Hill, Guardian, National Park Service

About the Author
  • Hi Everyone! I am a paleontologist/archaeologist based in the Los Angeles area! I am passionate about conservation, sustainability, historic preservation, nature, and natural history.
You May Also Like
AUG 30, 2021
Plants & Animals
Using Sunflower Pollen to Create Ink For 3D Biomedical Printing
AUG 30, 2021
Using Sunflower Pollen to Create Ink For 3D Biomedical Printing
Most methods for manufacturing ink for 3D printers involve the addition of various materials to provide strength and str ...
AUG 29, 2021
Cancer
Blood Test over 90% Accurate in Detecting Lung Cancer
AUG 29, 2021
Blood Test over 90% Accurate in Detecting Lung Cancer
An AI-powered blood test was able to correctly detect the presence of lung cancer over 90% of the time in patient sample ...
AUG 31, 2021
Health & Medicine
Your metabolism does slow down as you age, but not until you're over 60
AUG 31, 2021
Your metabolism does slow down as you age, but not until you're over 60
A new study shows that, yes, your metabolism does slow down as you age, but not until you're over 60
SEP 07, 2021
Health & Medicine
Vaccines- a Long History of Cost-Benefit Analysis
SEP 07, 2021
Vaccines- a Long History of Cost-Benefit Analysis
Vaccination and new treatments for diseases have remained topics of skepticism since their inception. When it came to an ...
SEP 21, 2021
Microbiology
How Many Nasty Germs Are in Chewed Gum? Ig Nobel Winners Found Out
SEP 21, 2021
How Many Nasty Germs Are in Chewed Gum? Ig Nobel Winners Found Out
Do beards grow so a man's face will be protected from impact? Is it better to transport rhinos upside down? Does discard ...
SEP 21, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Lifesaving TheraSpheres - glass microbeads can target and destroy colorectal tumors
SEP 21, 2021
Lifesaving TheraSpheres - glass microbeads can target and destroy colorectal tumors
The innovative medical device manufacturer Boston Scientific recently showed success in treating patients with ...
Loading Comments...