Lake Mead nears dead pool status as water levels hit another historic low


Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  6 days ago  •  19 comments

By:   Denise Chow

Lake Mead nears dead pool status as water levels hit another historic low
Lake Mead's water levels this week dropped to historic lows, bringing the nation's largest reservoir less than 150 feet away from "dead pool" — when the

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

Lake Mead's water level on Wednesday was measured at 1,044.03 feet, its lowest elevation since the lake was filled in the 1930s. If the reservoir dips below 895 feet a possibility still years away — Lake Mead would reach dead pool, carrying enormous consequences for millions of people across Arizona, California, Nevada and parts of Mexico.

"This is deadly serious stuff," said Robert Glennon, an emeritus professor at the University of Arizona who specializes in water law and policy.

Persistent drought conditions over the past two decades, exacerbated by climate change and increased water demands across the southwestern United States, have contributed to Lake Mead's depletion. Though the reservoir is at risk of becoming a dead pool, it would most likely take several more years to reach that level, Glennon said.

In the meantime, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and water managers across the southwestern United States are making efforts to manage the flow of water into the Colorado River and regulate water use among states in the region. These measures are designed to help replenish Lake Mead, which was created on the Colorado River on the Arizona-Nevada border when the Hoover Dam was built in the early 1930s, and another severely depleted reservoir, Lake Powell, which was created along the border of Utah and Arizona.


Lake Mead at risk of becoming dead pool

Dead pool would not mean that there was no water left in the reservoir, but even before Lake Mead were to hit that point, there are concerns that water levels could fall so low that the production of hydroelectric power would be hindered.

"Electricity generation in our western reservoirs becomes a problem as the water level in the reservoirs goes down," Glennon said.

As a reservoir is depleted, there is less water flowing through turbines and less liquid pressure to make them spin, which means the turbines produce less electricity, he added.

Glennon said water levels at Lake Mead have seen unexpectedly significant declines in recent years. At roughly this same time last year, Lake Mead's elevation was measured at around 1,069 feet, according to the Bureau of Reclamation. In 2020, water levels at the end of June were around 1,087 feet.

In late April, Lake Mead's declining water level exposed an intake valve that first began supplying Nevada customers in 1971. The following month, two sets of human remains were discovered as a result of the reservoir's receding shoreline.

Glennon said the situation at Lake Mead is forcing local officials to take "dramatic steps" to replenish the reservoir, particularly as climate change is expected to worsen drought conditions in the West and will continue to affect how much water flows into the Colorado River.

"This is the 23rd year of drought, and we don't know if it's a 23-year drought, a 50-year drought or maybe it's a 100-year drought," he said. "We just don't know what's going to turn this around."


jrDiscussion - desc
Lucifer Morningstar
Professor Guide
1  Lucifer Morningstar    6 days ago

There is so much that can be done here in CA to address the water supply issue but no one seems willing to do anything sensible for past two or three decades now.

Freshman Guide
1.1  Gulliver  replied to  Lucifer Morningstar @1    6 days ago

Name one or two things that could be done for the curious among us.

Lucifer Morningstar
Professor Guide
1.1.1  Lucifer Morningstar  replied to  Gulliver @1.1    6 days ago

That’s simple improve water infrastructure and you can increase storage capacity easily by as much as 20% because residential and commercial combined represent about 5% of the state resources, 45% is sent into the ocean most of the rest of it is used in agriculture.  Dsal is an option and it is being implemented in a few locations but as pointed out environmental wackos would prefer dead fish over live humans. 

instead we have a bullet train to fucking nowhere that can’t meet the requirements of the initiative legislation with billions of sunk cost.

Greg Jones
Professor Guide
1.2  Greg Jones  replied to  Lucifer Morningstar @1    6 days ago

Droughts come and go, any connection to alleged climate change is still unclear.

The ever increasing  demand has to be stopped.

Lucifer Morningstar
Professor Guide
1.2.1  Lucifer Morningstar  replied to  Greg Jones @1.2    6 days ago

Well here’s another fun fact water conservation has been enormously successful here, particularly in the San Diego area area where household usage has decreased by more than 50% in the last decade

Lucifer Morningstar
Professor Guide
1.2.2  Lucifer Morningstar  replied to  Greg Jones @1.2    6 days ago

And of course you’re correct about how climate change has been weaponized to limit water consumption. 

Junior Silent
1.2.3  zuksam  replied to  Lucifer Morningstar @1.2.1    5 days ago

California knew it had a major water supply problems in the 70's and the population has more than doubled since then and it's still growing. 

Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
1.3  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  Lucifer Morningstar @1    6 days ago

right , desalinization plants could help , but there are to many NIMBYs there 

PhD Guide
1.3.1  evilgenius  replied to  Mark in Wyoming @1.3    6 days ago

Desalination plants in a Qadir study produced 1.5 times more waste brine than fresh water. 

Professor Principal
1.3.2  Kavika   replied to  Mark in Wyoming @1.3    6 days ago

California has the largest desalinization plant in the western hemisphere. 

Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
1.3.3  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Kavika @1.3.2    6 days ago

Thanks for the info Kavika, I didn't know about this.

Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
1.3.4  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  Kavika @1.3.2    5 days ago

kav how many would they need to meet the demand that is currently faced? and why dont they exist or are being built?

there can be a lot of reasons , but the largest i believe is the not in my back yard mindset .

Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
1.3.5  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  evilgenius @1.3.1    5 days ago

there are pros and cons to just about any thing , and they all have to be weighed as to importance and end result .

Professor Principal
1.3.6  Kavika   replied to  Mark in Wyoming @1.3.4    4 days ago
there can be a lot of reasons , but the largest i believe is the not in my back yard mindset .

Not sure that is it at all the cost of building one and the cost of the water that is produced is the main objection. In San Diego conservation has reduced the amount of water used by households by close to 40% in the past few years so now some of the areas that signed up for that water want out of it because of the cost. The avocado farmers in the Fallbrooks are one of the groups that want out.

Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
1.3.7  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  Kavika @1.3.6    4 days ago

so it can also be a case of all of the above ....which i think is likely IMO

charger 383
Professor Quiet
2  charger 383    6 days ago

Another reason we need to address the problem of overpopulation

Professor Quiet
2.1  cjcold  replied to  charger 383 @2    6 days ago

The planet is already addressing the overpopulation and ecological abuse problems itself.

The anthropogenic global warming and pollution has already reached tipping points. 

Mass migrations and species die-offs are already changing/destroying most ecosystems.

The problem being that the planet doesn't heal as fast as humans destroy it in the name of greed.

Yet there are some who seem to think that every pregnancy should result in another consumer.

Professor Quiet
2.1.1  Ronin2  replied to  cjcold @2.1    4 days ago

And there are those that think illegal immigrants are more important than US citizens; and have a wide open southern border- with a "We'll take everyone and subsidize them approach".

Freshman Expert
3  magicschoolbusdropout    6 days ago

Lakes come and go.... and sometimes come back.

Take Lake Texcoco . It's going further than it already had !

What is one capable of doing to stop things like this from happening ?

Start by buying and Driving Electric Cars ? jrSmiley_103_smiley_image.jpg


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