Not just Lake Mead, Lake Powell is also headed for catastrophic drought collapse

Today, Lake Powell’s vastness is diminishing with water levels falling under 45 percent capacity. The conditions at Lake Powell are beginning to look similar to Lake Mead, the world’s largest reservoir, which sits 180 miles downriver and is also drying up at a shocking pace.

Lake Powell’s “Bathtub ring” now appears 100 feet above boaters

Water levels at Glen Canyon dam have fallen more than 100 feet. The shoreline of Lake Powell now shows a deepening “bathtub ring” – a natural phenomenon that shows how high water levels used to be. This “bathtub ring” now shows in the sandstone walls of the canyon some 100 feet above today’s boaters who must now navigate around emerging islands and mud bogs. Continue reading

Leaking Las Vegas

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas… apart from the water. As the following interactive chart from ProPublica shows, water usage in the greater Las Vegas region has more than doubled in the last 40 years and with the drought conditions, every reservoir is near record lows. Welcome To Las Vegas (while water supplies last).

Click here for large interactive version

Vegas Water History

1905    The Las Vegas Land and Water Company is formed to build and operate groundwater wells which the city then depended on for decades.

1922    The seven basin states sign the Colorado River Compact, estimating the river’s annual supply at 18 million acre-feet of water and dividing 15 million acre-feet between the northern and southern states. The river would eventually prove to flow with just 14.8 million acre-feet a year. Continue reading

Drought cuts power production of California dams

Shasta Dam, looming more than 600 feet tall and gatekeeper of the largest man-made lake in California, was designed to perform two crucial functions: Store water and generate power.

And for decades, the massive concrete structure has channeled water to cities and farms while generating up to 710 megawatts of hydropower, enough to provide electricity for more than 532,000 homes.

But amid four years of drought, the reservoir is drained to 50% of capacity, cutting the dam’s power production by about a third, according to federal reclamation officials. Continue reading