Lake Mead Is Drying Up

Posted on May 16, 2009 

Lake Mead Is Drying Up

Water levels are falling in America’s largest reservoir. If it dries up, so could power and water for much of the Southwest.

Imagine Nevada’s Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States, as a great sand pit, and imagine the population of the western United States as a colossal ostrich burying its head in the pit. And now, imagine the sand level dropping so fast that the willfully ignorant bird is forced to confront the fact that Lake Mead may actually become as dry as a sand pit in a decade.

Lake Mead stores water from the Colorado River. When full, it holds 9.3 trillion gallons, an amount equal to the water that flows through the Colorado River in two years. The water from Lake Mead is used for many things. It irrigates a million acres of crops in the United States and Mexico, and supplies water to tens of millions of people. Its mighty Hoover Dam generates enough electricity to power a half-million homes. Additionally, the power from Hoover Dam is used to carry water up and across the Sierra Nevada Mountains on its way to Southern California.

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