(NaturalNews) Water resource experts have known for many years that current use of the Colorado River is not sustainable. Sixteen years of drought have made it clear that the river is overtaxed, and cannot indefinitely meet the demands of agriculture, hydroelectric generation, recreation and sustaining the populations of some of the fastest-growing cities in the nation.
This past spring was an unusually wet one, leading to higher-than-average runoff from river’s source in the Rocky Mountains. Yet even at atypically high levels, the river still ran dry before reaching its outlet at the Gulf of California.
All of which suggests that the elaborate water distribution system that sustains the cities and farms of the Southwest may be collapsing sooner than anyone expected. Continue reading
AFTER years of drought Lake Mead, the source of fresh water for the holiday hotspot, has hit its lowest level and Sin City is facing its biggest crisis.
But take a trip 25 miles southeast to Lake Mead, the massive reservoir created when the Hoover Dam was built across the Colorado River, and you get a striking visual wake-up call.
All around its 760 miles of rocky shoreline is a clearly defined line that locals call the “bathtub ring”.
Above it the rocks are brown and jagged but below they are shiny white. This is where the calcium in the water has stained the rocks – and the widening band of white is a powerful sign of how fast the level is dropping.
The lake, which supplies 90 per cent of the water to the two million residents of Las Vegas and its 43 million annual visitors, has been reduced by drought to the lowest level since it was filled in 1937 and is now at 39 per cent capacity. The surface reached a record high of 1,225ft above sea level in 1983 but is now at about 1,080ft. If the level drops below 1,050ft one of the two intakes that feed water to the city will become useless. Another 50ft and the other one would fail. Continue reading