(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
(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. Continue reading
During the Cold War, the Soviet military mapped the entire world in one of the most ambitious mapping projects ever undertaken (see this feature article for more about these amazing maps, and the unlikely group of scholars trying to figure out how they were made—and why). The maps are fascinating to look at, and for those of us who grew up during the paranoid days of the Cold War, seeing your hometown covered in cyrillic text is a bit unsettling.
But the Soviets didn’t stop at just making some of the most accurate and detailed maps of the day. Some of the medium scale maps of include extremely detailed descriptions of the area–everything from the load-bearing capacities of bridges to the paving materials of the roads. (Yes, comrade, they will accommodate your tanks!) Continue reading
What are we going to do once all the water is gone? Thanks to the worst drought in more than 1,000 years, the western third of the country is facing the greatest water crisis that the United States has ever seen. Lake Mead is now the lowest that it has ever been since the Hoover Dam was finished in the 1930s, mandatory water restrictions have already been implemented in the state of California, and there are already widespread reports of people stealing water in some of the worst hit areas. But this is just the beginning. Right now, in a desperate attempt to maintain somewhat “normal” levels of activity, water is being pumped out of the ground in the western half of the nation at an absolutely staggering pace. Once that irreplaceable groundwater is gone, that is when the real crisis will begin. If this multi-year drought stretches on and becomes the “megadrought” that a lot of scientists are now warning about, life as we know it in much of the country is going to be fundamentally transformed and millions of Americans may be forced to find somewhere else to live. Continue reading
Less water, less electricity
California isn’t the only one having a water crisis. Yesterday, Lake Mead sank to its lowest level yet. The watery behemoth created by the construction of the Hoover Dam in the 1930s was reduced to a mere 1,080.07 feet above sea level, minimally smaller than the previous record of 1,080.19 set last August. 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