August 8, 2022
Two of the country’s largest reservoirs at risk of power and water shortages on the brink of “dead pool status”, UN warns

Millions of people in the western US are at risk of losing access to both water and electricity as the nation’s two largest reservoirs are drying up inch by inch. released by the United Nations Warning Water levels in Mead Lake and Powell Lake are at their lowest on Tuesday and are getting dangerously close to reaching “dead pool status.”

Such a situation means that the water level is so low that hydroelectricity cannot flow downstream to the hydroelectric power stations.

Feather Meidi LakeThe nation’s largest artificial water body, located in Nevada and Arizona, has dropped so much that it has essentially become a cemetery. human remainsdried fish and a sunken boat The shallowest underwater finds from the time of World War II have been discovered so far. The walls of the lake are divided by two contrasting colors that reveal the line on which the water once sat.

At maximum capacity, the lake should reach an altitude of 1,220 feet, according to NASA’s Earth Observatory. On this day in 2020, Lake Mead was sitting at 1,084 feet above mean sea level. today it 1,040, NASA has said it could be worst drought The water level must remain above 1,000 feet for the region to continue to provide hydroelectricity over 12 centuries and at normal levels.

This structure shows the difference in the water level of Lake Mead from 6 July 2000 to 3 July 2022.

NASA Earth Observatory

Lake Powell, which is located in Utah and Arizona, is the second largest artificial reservoir in the country and is seeing a similar situation. The last time the lake was filled was in 1999, but there is water dozens of feet down compared to last year. By Thursday, it was only a quarter full,

Both lakes provide water and electricity to millions of people in seven states, as well as irrigation water for agriculture.

UN Environment Program ecosystem expert Lis Mullin Bernhardt said conditions “have been so dry for more than 20 years that we are no longer talking about drought.” The United Nations says the climate crisis and over-consumption of water are to blame.

“We refer to this as ‘drying out’ – a new very dry normal,” he said in a statement.

And even if water is cut to try and ration the supply, it may not be enough.

“Climate change is at the heart of the issue,” said UNEP’s North America Ecosystem Officer Maria Morgado. “In the long term we need to address the root causes of climate change as well as the water demands.”

Those water demands are only compounded by the climate crisis, the United Nations said, as most countries face more frequent and intense droughts and brutal conditions of extreme heat.

“These conditions are dangerous,” Bernhardt said, “and especially in the Lake Powell and Lake Mead area, this is the perfect storm.”

The US is one of 23 countries that have faced a drought emergency between 2020 and 2022 drought report by the United Nations earlier this year. The water pressure in the country is “relatively high”, as about three-quarters of the available renewable water supply is used every year. Along with the burden of public health and infrastructure, it also creates a financial one – in 2020, California suffered between $10-20 billion in damages from wildfires and droughts.

While droughts cause only 15% of natural disasters, they cause 60% of extreme weather deaths worldwide. In less than 30 years, scientists estimate that more than three-quarters of the world’s population will be affected.

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