Lake Mead which supplies water to 25 million people has sunk to alarmingly low water levels
The drought at Lake Mead is so bad the original water intake valve is now visible
As the West grapples with an ongoing climate change fueled megadrought, Lake Mead — the largest water reservoir in the U.S., which supplies water to 25 million people — has sunk to alarmingly low water levels.
According to a Twitter post from the Southern Nevada Water Authority, for the first time, the lake’s original water intake valve is now exposed. The valve in question was in service since 1971 and, thanks to the drought, can no longer draw water.
Currently, Lake Mead is about 30 percent full. As of Thursday, the reservoir’s elevation sat at about 1,056 feet above sea level.
If this crisis continues to worsen and the second valve also becomes inoperable, this third valve only has the ability to supply water to Nevada. If the lake dips below an elevation of 900 feet, Hoover Dam will no longer be able to release water downstream from the Colorado River to California, Arizona, and Mexico. That’s obviously bad news. In Arizona, for example, the Colorado River is the state’s main source of water — including the roughly five million people in the cities of Phoenix and Tucson. Farms in Arizona have already been cut off earlier this spring, causing thousands of acres of alfalfa and cotton to go dry.
This week, 6 million residents in Southern California will also be required to cut down on water usage. In an unprecedented move, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California ordered a restriction — limiting outdoor watering to one day a week.
This is a big deal! Having lived in Southern California up until five years ago I knew this was coming. The water shortage was one of the reasons that we left California and moved to New Jersey.