Discussion in 'Misc. Vegas Chat' started by dewey089, Jul 7, 2014.
Hate to read that. But excellent information. Thanks
Dang, that confirms that my eyes haven't been deceiving me. A few years ago our SWA incoming flight path changed to send us over the lake just above the dam. I've been noticing what appears to be a gradual but steady drop in the lake level. This does not bode well, just like the plunging aquifer levels in our own drought-stricken Texas.....
An el-nino is shaping up for later this year, could last a couple years or more and should lead to increased snowfall in the rockies - where all of lake meads water comes from, it could easily rebound.
I live in mn and they've been whining for a few years now about how the great lakes water levels are dropping like a rock, well, we've had a ton of rain(and a long winter) and the water levels are back up - those doom and gloom forecasts aren't worth the paper they're written on.
For trivia buffs, as of july 2nd, there are exactly 4,126,576,305,679 gallons of water in lake powell(which feeds into lake Mead), I like how they measure it to the gallon!
I watched something once about how the lake water level goes up and down over time. The only problem is the water usage only goes in one direction, up.
They need to release upper reservoir reserves and from Lake Powell. What they are not telling you is the snowfall we received last season was the second highest in 10 years, now have Lake Navaro, Flaming Gorge and Blue Mesa all above 70% some even 86%
Lake Powell is up 35 feet since the end of april.
True it's cause for concern, but they are also controlling water levels all along the river. Lake Mohave doesn't ever change by more than 3 feet, same with Lake Havasu, below Mead. It's because Lake Mead is so big, it take the brunt of water distribution. Had Glen Canyon dam not been built, Lake Mead would still be above 90%.
Here's a fun fact: Lake Powell rock is so porous compared to Lake Mead rock, it seeps water into the earth(and is lost forever) more water each year than Las Vegas uses in the same time. (about 400 million acre feet).
Mismangement is a bigger problem than drought
It's really not important where it is impounded as this is a systemic problem. There simply are too many people and more importantly too many acres of water-craving agriculture in the West, all slurping off a hydrology that was WAY overestimated. When we get a drought of historic proportion the folly of the entire conquer-at-all-cost mentality of the early 1900s will scream through.
El Ninos typically help California (where six major water-diversion systems are in place -- Hetch Hetchy, Central Valley Project, state water project, Owens, MWD and Coachella/Imperial -- and only two are Colorado River-based, though significant) and the southern Rockies, and the latter is only about half of the Colorado system.
I don't think its that big of a deal... the last few years they are just taking the "wait and see" approach to see if the lake can fill itself up with a couple of "good" winters in a row.
If things got really critical they could just turn the dam off: over the course of a year it would cost about $300M to buy the electricity from Canada that the dam produces and Lake Mead would fill itself to near capacity.
I'd like to learn about this Lake Mead situation, it sounds fascinating. Does anyone have links to good reports or longform articles about this issue you'd recommend?
Kick, a good place to start is with Marc Reisner's Cadillac Desert: The American West and its Disappearing Water. It's a bit of a polemic and he has a particular hard on for the BoR, but in the field it's still a seminal work.
Oh, yep, that's it.
Keep in mind that the vast majority of the water is still used for agriculture, not people, if you drive out in the desert outside phoenix they are growing rice out there in flooded fields. There is plenty of water folks, if and when the time comes those are the things that will be cut back on.
I always love the predictions of "well, if it stays much drier than average we will be in big trouble", yea and if it keeps raining in the midwest they're gonna need an ark. Nothing stays static and with weather its a certainty. Should we stop "wasting" water, of course we should, but the world is not going to end anytime soon, nor are these cities gonna be abandoned and blow away.
Somewhere between the climate-change ostriches and the climate-change Chicken Littles, there is reality. Earth is a closed system. From our limited perspectives we see it changing all the time but those changes mean dick across the system and over the epochs; earth has a balance. When we have the next historic-time or geologic-time drought and the mainstem Colorado flows at 1maf/year for x years instead of the 22+maf erroneously assumed to be "average" when the calculations were made 90 years ago, bravura and hubris won't mean a thing; this decade we've already seen a yearly flow of 3.8maf, just as we saw a true flood condition in the early 1980s at 22maf, or what the Compact assumes is normal, year in and year out flow.
Indeed, M&I usage is only about 20 percent.
L.A. isn't going away. But we will adapt within this system. Some day.
The theme of the June issue of "Popular Science" is water, featuring Lake Mead, the Colorado River Basin, and of course, Las Vegas. There are some really interesting plans to funnel additional water into (and out of) the lake, but it basically comes down to a diminishing supply and an increasing demand. Fascinating stuff!
The obvious solution is to either invade Canada or make them an offer they can't refuse. They have way too much water and will never drink it all. Probably should run a parallel water pipe next to the Keystone XL.
Why not capture all the water from the melting ice caps and put it in the lake???
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