Lake Mead, largest US reservoir, declares water shortage
- Currently, the lake is about 35% capacity and is projected to go even lower by 2021 end
- Due to the water shortage, Arizona will be hit the hardest
- The reservoir has gone down to its lowest levels since it was created
US officials have declared a water shortage at Lake Mead, prompting major water cuts in Arizona and other western states. Lake Mead, the US' largest reservoir, was created in the 1930s and now has attached to it a "tier 1" shortage by the US Bureau of Reclamation. The shortage depicts an acknowledgment that the reservoir has gone down to its lowest levels since it was created.
Currently, the lake is about 35% capacity and is projected to go even lower by 2021 end, the Bureau of Reclamation announced.
Due to the water shortage, Arizona will be hit the hardest and it will lose nearly a fifth of the water that it receives.
Farmers and ranchers in Pinal county will witness the amount of water they used to receive plummet by half next year and likely disappear altogether by 2023.
"What we hoped we would never see is here,” Guardian quoted Camille Calimlim Touton, a deputy commissioner at the Bureau of Reclamation as saying.
“At the heart of today’s announcement is also an acknowledgment of the hardship the drought has brought,” she added.
While the household water supplies will not be affected, families will most probably experience a rise in water prices.
As for Nevada, it will lose 7% of the water. However, residents will not see any change because the state has alternative water sources. Mexico will experience a 5% reduced supply.
“This is a very big deal, because there’s never been a shortage like this over the almost 100-year history,” said Sarah Porter, director of the Kyl Center for Water Policy at Arizona State University.
“The immediate impacts of this will not probably be felt by most people. But it’s a big, giant red flag telling a region that is dependent on Colorado River water that we need to adjust to a drier future,” she added.
When the Lake is full, it is at 1,221ft above sea level but the lakes' level is expected to drop to 1,065ft, below the 1,075ft cutoff that triggers first-tier water reductions.