Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Southwest is about to get very thirsty

Image originally uploaded by Daniel Y. Go under Creative Commons license.

Lake Mead could be dry by 2021

There is a 50 percent chance Lake Mead, a key source of water for millions of people in the southwestern U.S., will be dry by 2021

The research team concludes that human demand, natural forces such as evaporation, and human-induced climate change are creating a net deficit of nearly 1 million acre-feet of water per year from the Colorado River system that includes Lake Mead and Lake Powell. This amount of water can supply roughly 8 million people. The team's analysis of Federal Bureau of Reclamation records of past water demand and calculations of scheduled water allocations and climate conditions indicate that the system could run dry even if mitigation measures now being proposed are implemented.

“Today, we are at or beyond the sustainable limit of the Colorado system. The alternative to reasoned solutions to this coming water crisis is a major societal and economic disruption in the desert southwest; something that will affect each of us living in the region,”

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