The US authorities issued for the first time on Monday (16.08.2021) an official declaration of water shortages for the drought-affected Lake Mead, which will cause future water supply cuts for some 40 million people in the west of the country.
Lake Mead, formed in the 1930s from the damming of the Colorado River on the Nevada-Arizona border, is the largest reservoir in the United States. It is critical to the water supply for 25 million people in the cities of Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Tucson and Las Vegas.
The federal government of the United States announced on Monday the reservoir will operate from October under historical conditions of water scarcity, impacting Nevada and Arizona, two western states, and Mexico.
Second reservation is also at its lowest historical
“The Colorado River system is currently at 40% capacity, down from 49% at this time last year,” announced the Bureau of Reclamation, an agency attached to the Interior Ministry in charge of water supply.
A tire is found on dry land in a section of Lake Powell, Utah that used to be underwater. (24.06.2021)
Lake Powell, the second reserve in the country and which is also fed by the Colorado River, also reached its lowest level: 32% of its capacity.
Contingency plan for 2022
According to projections, in 2022 the contingency plan will require a reduction of about 18% of the annual allocation for Arizona; 7% for Nevada; and 5% for Mexico.
Seven states in the United States and Mexico have signed agreements for the management of water in the Colorado River basin.
Located on the Arizona-Nevada border, Hoover Dam contains Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States by volume.
The western United States is suffering from the effects of chronic drought exacerbated by climate change, with lakes at historically low levels, unusually early wildfires, restrictions on water use and now a potentially record heat wave.
Lake Mead was formed by the construction of the Hoover Dam in the 1930s; it is one of several man-made reservoirs that store water from the Colorado River, which supplies domestic water, irrigation for farms, and hydroelectric power to Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, and parts of Mexico.
jc (afp, Reuters, ap)