'Super drought' threatens western water supply
Millions of people in the West are at risk of reduced access to both water and electricity as the country's two largest reservoirs continue to slowly dry up. The United Nations on Tuesday issued a warning that Lake Mead and Powell water levels are at all-time lows and dangerously close to "deadpool conditions."
Such conditions mean that the water level is so low that it cannot flow downstream to power hydroelectric power plants.
Lake Mead, located in Nevada and Arizona, is the largest man-made body of water in the nation, where water levels can become very low and essentially It's been turned into a graveyard – human remainsdried fishWWII shipwrecks It became clear from underground by now shallow water. The walls of the lake he separated by two contrasting colors reveal the boundaries where the water once existed.
At maximum capacity, the lake should reach an elevation of 1,220 feet, according to NASA's Earth Observatory. On this day in 2020, Lake Mead was 1,084 feet above mean sea level. Today,1,040NASA said this could be the worst drought in the 12th century for the region, and water levels would continue to provide hydroelectric power at normal levels. states that you must stay above 1,000 feet.
Lake Powell, located in Utah and Arizona, is her second largest man-made reservoir in the United States, as well status can be seen. The lake was last filled in 1999, but the water level is tens of feet lower than last year. were only a quarter full as of Thursday
Both lakes provide water to tens of millions of people in seven states. and electricity, as well as irrigation water. Agriculture.
According to Lis Marin Bernhardt, an ecology expert at the United Nations Environment Programme, ``It has been so dry for over 20 years that drought is no longer talked about. No,” he said. The climate crisis and overconsumption of water are the culprits, the UN says.
"We call this 'drying out.' It's a very dry new normal," they said in a statement.
And even if water cutoffs are introduced to limit water supply, it may not be enough.
"Climate change is at the heart of the problem," said Maria Morgado, UNEP's North American Ecosystem Officer. "In the long term, we need to address the root causes of climate change and water demands."
These water demands will only be exacerbated by the climate crisis, the United Nations said.
"These conditions are alarming," he said. Bernhard said. "It's a perfect storm, especially in the Lake Powell and Lake Mead regions." It is one of 23 countries facing a drought emergency. With almost three-quarters of the available renewable water supply used annually, water stress is 'relatively high' in the country. It also creates a burden. In 2020, California lost her $10 billion to $20 billion to wildfires and drought.
Droughts account for only about 15% of natural disasters, but cause her 60% of extreme weather deaths worldwide. Scientists predict that more than three-quarters of the world's population will be affected within 30 years.
Li Cohen is a social media producer and trending reporter for CBS News, focusing on social justice issues. increase.
Thank you for visiting CBS NEWS.
Create a free account or log in to
for more features.