Lake Mead water level, drought and wider issues

The video on this page highlights the catastrophic drought that is affecting Western USA causing the water level in Lake Mead, located in Nevada and Arizona, to decline rapidly and it is ongoing. The declining water levels in Lake Mead brings it home worldwide to people how severe the drought is. And droughts are affecting other parts of the world such as the usually soggy UK. Where I live, just outside London, there has been a drought and we are pretty close to having water restrictions in the south-east of England. It hasn’t rained for a very long time which in the UK is extremely rare. It is the driest it has been since the 1830s in the south-east of England.

According to the US Drought Monitor, at present, a moderate to exceptional drought covers 43.2% of the United States including Puerto Rico. CBS News tells us that millions of people in Western US are also looking at the possibility of reduced access to water and power as the country’s biggest reservoirs dry up. Lake Mead is one of those reservoirs and the other is Lake Powell. They are at their lowest ever and is reported that they are close to reaching “dead pool status”. At that point, the water can’t flow downstream to power hydroelectric stations.

Lake Mead water levels are dangerously low and almost at dead pool status

Lake Mead water levels are dangerously low and almost at dead pool status. Screenshot.

Lake Mead is the country’s largest artificial body of water. When it is at its maximum capacity the water level is at 1,220 feet above sea level. At the moment is at 1040 feet above sea level and it is reported that it could be the worst drought in the region in 12 centuries. Texas is also experiencing a bad drought with water drying up.

The water level needs to be above 1,000 feet above sea level to provide hydropower. It isn’t just people who are going to be affected dramatically, fish cannot survive in parts of the lake because it begins to lack of oxygen as it dries up.

RELATED: Air conditioning climate feedback loop as California hits its highest temperatures

And, of course, wildlife in the area generally is going to find it harder to find water which means they can suffer from dehydration and overheating. Birds that feed on earthworms no longer have access to that food source because the worm stay down in the damp earth. And, for example, caterpillars require intensive foliage in order to feed and grow and if foliage is dying back there is no food for them. This can lead to butterfly populations falling.

Swifts and swallows are at risk of fatally overheating in high temperature conditions. And of course, prolonged dry weather increases the risk of wildfires which can have a devastating impact on wildlife, sometimes killing literally billions of ground dwelling mammals, marsupials and other creatures such as insect species as happened last year in Australia.

RELATED: Australia’s quokka’s survival in trouble due to climate change

I’m just touching on one or two points about the drought this year affecting many parts of the world. Living in the UK, for me, the most noticeable impact of this extended period of dry weather is the extraordinary images of Lake Mead which is being drained of its water.

There was a television program about India’s drought today. It looks horrendous. A genuine water shortage as it just dries up. They are taking ground water and the glaciers are melting leaving streams where there were once rivers.

Below are some articles on global warming. It looks like the droughts are a symptom global warming. Water will become an incredibly precious commodity in the medium-term future, I predict.

Intensive farming harms birds
A study has concluded that intensive farming harms bird life more than climate change and urbanisation. And intensive farming is ...
Read More
Galicia's wind turbines are said to harm the welfare of the wild horses
The Times reports that local people in Galicia in north-west Spain believe that the noise of wind turbines is jeopardising ...
Read More
Seals' unprovoked attacks on Cape Town beachgoers
NEWS AND COMMENT-CAPE TOWN: As I understand this, this is a disturbing example of humankind's effect on wild animal behaviour ...
Read More

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *