Drought conditions have dropped water levels in Lake Mead to “near critical levels,” according to 8newsnow.com, putting Las Vegas Valley water supply in a tight spot.
The situation has gotten bad enough that Las Vegas water officials may seek federal disaster aid, according to ktvn.com.
In a comment to the Las Vegas Review Journal, Southern Nevada Water Authority chief Pat Mulroy compared the severity of the situation to Hurricane Sandy, which hit the East Coast last year.
Lake Mead’s water level has dropped more than 100 feet since 2000, according to ktvn.com.
If Lake Mead drops to 1,075 feet, Nevada will be forced to cut water usage by 4 percent, according to 8newsnow.com. The lake was at 1,106 feet, as of August 8, and falling fast.
The Southern Nevada Water Authority cannot pull water out of Lake Mead if it drops below 1,000 feet, but is drilling a third “straw” into the lake to gain deeper access in case levels continue to drop.
Many are viewing this as a long-term issue, and one that will have to be dealt with on a larger scale.
“They really all see, as do most scientists, the fact that we’re not really in a period of drought. It is climate change,” Dr. Stephen Parker of University of Nevada, Las Vegas, told 8newsnow.com.
And according to federal water experts and climatologists, the picture is grim for all of the South West that depends on the Colorado River for water, according to an article in the Las Vegas Sun.
Demand for water from the Colorado River exceeds current supply, according to the article, meaning the government may have to spend between $4 and $7 billion to ensure a more stable supply for Nevada, Arizona, California, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico.
This situation only reinforces the importance of properly, and carefully, managing not only our water supply in the west, but insuring the water we do have is kept at high water quality standards so it isn’t wasted.