(NaturalNews) The severe droughts affecting the western United States are approaching apocalyptic proportions as the water level of Lake Mead – America’s largest capacity reservoir – has reached the lowest point in its history.
The water levels have just dropped (as of this writing on April 30, 2015) below 1,080 feet – that’s lower than last year’s record low level of 1080.19 feet.
Lake Mead is fed by the Colorado River, which is in the midst of a relentless “super-drought” that has lasted 14 years so far, and which is expected to worsen over the coming years.
The Colorado River carries water from melted snow that flows into it from the “upper basin states” which include Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico. Lake Mead gets 96 percent of its water from this snow melt, which dropped below 47 percent of normal in 2013.
This decrease in snowpack runoff has in turn caused Lake Mead and other reservoirs along the Colorado River to drop to levels as low as 40 percent of capacity since the drought began.
Levels nearing “critical point”
The lake levels are nearing the critical point when federal officials will begin rationing water deliveries to Arizona, Nevada and some areas in California.
Recent studies have indicated that the drought is unlikely to end any time soon. In fact, mean annual runoff is expected to drop another 8.5 percent by the middle of the century.
The building boom that greatly expanded the size and population of urban areas throughout the Colorado basin region – including Las Vegas, Phoenix and other cities – was largely due to the record high levels of Lake Mead during the last half of the 20th century.
No one expected the water levels to drop so far and so fast. Now the entire region faces a very uncertain future as temperatures are expected to continue rising and water resources continue to dwindle.
The Las Vegas area is particularly threatened. As the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports:
“Smack in the middle is the Las Vegas Valley, which draws roughly 90 percent of its water from the river using two intake pipes at Lake Mead. A new deep-water intake is expected to go online by the end of summer, and the Southern Nevada Water Authority is rushing to design and build an associated pumping station to keep water flowing to the community even if the reservoir shrinks another 185 feet to ‘dead pool,’ the level at which that Hoover Dam can no longer release water.
Such a scenario was once unthinkable, but now water managers are spending a great deal of money preparing for it. The combined cost of the water authority’s new intake pipe and pump station will likely top $1.4 billion.”
Full article: Lake Mead reaches another record low as water apocalypse nears for Las Vegas, a city living in denial (Natural News)