Monday, February 19, 2024

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Lake Powell Approaches Critical Level For The First Time

50 years ago, Lake Powell was filled. Since then, it has remained well above the necessary level to supply water and produce electricity. However, due to the unprecedented drought that the western US is facing, it is approaching below critical levels for the first time in history.

This will have an effect on the 5.8 million that rely on it for drinking water. And even worse, it can fall below the necessary capacity for Glen Canyon Dam’s ability to generate hydroelectricity. This would have a major impact on how states produce energy.

The critical level for Lake Powell is 3,525 feet, and the most recent water level reading is 3,526 feet. Yup, that’s just one foot away from critical. The critical level is actually a 35-foot buffer. At 3,490, the dam will no longer be able to generate electricity.

And with no end in sight for the drought, hydroelectricity and drinking water is at risk.

Lake Powell Is Just the Beginning; The Water Crisis Is Getting Worse

In no uncertain terms, this is the worst drought the western US has ever faced. And it is having a serious impact on the availability of fresh water for the seven states that rely on the Colorado River.

In recent years, water management policies have been put into place to help mitigate the problem. This ranges from reducing water usage to imposing restrictions on residents and businesses.

More recently, they had to release water from the Blue Mesa reservoir to help restore the levels to an operational level.

These kinds of actions will keep normal activity afloat, but it is not sustainable. If the drought persists for multiple years, there will come a point where the water threshold is not enough.

Thus, concerns are being raised over water management in general.

Think about it, let’s say the drought comes to an end. How long will that last? The planet is getting warmer, which means less water will be available as there will be less snow to melt into the rivers and reservoirs and less rain through the year.

Simply put, the water management practices of these states must change abruptly in response to the rising temperatures.

The Western US May Represent the World’s Future

If someone is looking for proof climate change is real and apparent, simply show them the western US.

It has many of the hallmarks that scientists have been warning. Extreme heat, drought, forest fires, and even flooding. And it’s right in our very own country and threatening millions of people.

It’s not a problem that “may come.” It is a problem that is here and can get significantly worse if the world cannot curb its reliance on fossil fuels.

It is imperative global emissions must lower, and that will require significant change. And more importantly, it requires that change in a very short amount of time, which are two things the world is bad at.

This is especially true as it costs money to do so.

And unfortunately, based on our track record, the world may already be past the point of no return.

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Robert Giaquinto

Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.

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