CARSON CITY, Nevada – The man-made lakes that store the water that supply millions of people in the western United States and Mexico are projected to drop to record lows in the coming months, potentially triggering the first official statement from the federal government. in shortages and likewise, cuts in Arizona and Nevada.
The Reclamation Office this week released 24-month projections predicting that less water from the Colorado River will cascade from the Rocky Mountains through Lake Powell and Lake Mead and into the arid deserts of the southwestern US and the Gulf of California.
Water levels in the two lakes are expected to plummet enough for the agency to declare an official shortage for the first time, threatening the Colorado River water supply on which growing cities and farms depend.
It occurs when climate change means less snow is flowing into the river and its tributaries, and higher temperatures dry out the soil and cause more of the river’s water to evaporate as it flows through the drought-plagued American West.
The agency’s modeling project, Lake Mead, will drop below 1,075 feet for the first time in June 2021. That’s the level that triggers a shortage declaration under agreements negotiated by seven states that depend on Colorado River water. : Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.
The April projections, however, will not have a binding impact. Federal officials regularly issue long-term projections, but use those released each August to make decisions about how to allocate river water.
Environmental groups said the unusual find was likely due to the particular winds and currents that had pushed the jellyfish into the harbor. And they stayed above the water where the temperature was warmer and where they would find more plankton.
If the projections do not improve by then, the Reclamation Office will declare a Level 1 shortage condition. The cuts would be implemented in January.
Arizona, Nevada and Mexico have voluntarily given up water under a drought contingency plan for the river signed in 2019. A shortage declaration would subject the two US states to their first mandatory reductions. They both depend on the Colorado River more than any other water source, and Arizona can lose about a third of its supply.
Water agency officials say they are confident their preparedness measures, including conservation and finding alternative sources, would allow them to withstand the cuts if the drought persists as expected.
Although the Mpemba effect has been accepted as fact, scientists have been slow to agree on its explanation. Today there are several hypotheses that try to explain this mysterious effect.
“The study, while significant, is not a surprise. It reflects the impacts of hot and dry conditions in the Colorado River basin this year, as well as the effects of a prolonged drought that has affected the Colorado River’s water supply, ”said Arizona Department of Water Resources and Project officials. Central Arizona in a joint statement.
THREAT TO THE GENERATION OF ELECTRICITY IN HOOVER DAM
The Reclamation Office also projected that Lake Mead will fall to the point where they were concerned that it could threaten electricity generation at the Hoover Dam in the past. Hydropower serves millions of customers in Arizona, California, and Nevada.
To prepare for a future with less water, the office has spent 10 years replacing parts of five of the dam’s 17 turbines that rotate to generate power. Len Schilling, the office’s dam manager, said the addition of wide-head turbines allows the dam to run more efficiently at lower water levels. He said the turbines will be able to generate power almost to a point called “deadpool,” when there won’t be enough water to run the dam.
But Schilling pointed out that less water moving through the Hoover Dam means less hydropower to circulate. “As the elevation in the lake decreases, our ability to produce power also decreases because we have less water pushing the turbines,” he said.
Hydropower costs substantially less than power sold in the wholesale electricity market because the government charges customers only for the cost of producing and maintaining the dam.