Lake Powell and Lake Mead

More on the drought:

The megadrought currently choking the western United States is the worst drought in the region in more than 1,000 years. It’s having an enormous impact across many states and on several major reservoirs including Lake Mead, a water source for millions of people in the West. 

This week, local officials in Southern California started restricting water use, including watering of lawns to once or twice a week, for about six million residents. It’s also having a major impact on Lake Mead, which is a major source of water for agriculture and for millions of people in the American West.

Ok hang on – why not just ban watering lawns entirely? Lawns make no difference to anyone apart from a stunted kind of aesthetics. Lawns can come back. Lawns don’t feed anyone. Lawns don’t matter. When it’s a choice between crops and lawns why in hell are lawns getting any water at all?

The megadrought is connected intimately with climate change, of course. And our story is part of our ongoing coverage of the Tipping Point.

The Colorado River Basin, a lifeline of the American Southwest, is shrinking. And, with it, the country’s two largest reservoirs are going dry. Just 30 miles east of Las Vegas sits Lake Mead on the border of Arizona and Nevada. It’s the largest manmade reservoir in North America.

It’s not good when a country’s two largest reservoirs go dry.

Lake Mead gets water from Lake Powell, the second largest reservoir in the country. Its water supply is around a fourth of what it used to be.

States in the Southwest have started limiting some of their use of the Colorado River Basin. And, last month, federal officials took unprecedented action to temporarily keep enough water in Lake Powell, one of the country’s largest reservoirs, to continue, generating hydropower for a million homes.

Is the situation going to improve?


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