Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Much Talk About Oil But Little About Water

Everywhere you go in the US people are talking about gasoline prices, energy dependence on foreign oil and the need for alternative energy. However, the US is facing an even greater threat which virtually no one is discussing. Key regions in the US are running out of water - without which nothing lives.

ENN: Is Lake Mead Disappearing

The water supply crisis is not just a third world issue. Nevada's Lake Mead, the largest man-made lake and reservoir in the U.S., could go dry by 2021, according to a pair of scientists at the Scripp's Institute of Oceanography in San Diego, California. If human-induced climate change and water usage continues at the present rate, or even slower, there is a 50% chance the lake will go dry in coming years — and sooner, rather than later. The Colorado River's water is being consumed far beyond a sustainable level.

Regional climate models show California and areas of the Southwest could soon face a devastating water crisis. Reduced winter run-off — due to global warming, changing weather patterns and over-consumption — are draining the area of vital water. If the region enters a serious drought, matters will worsen quickly.

The loss of a resource like Lake Mead would have a tremendous negative impact on the agriculture industry, electrical power production, and local and regional water supplies. With 1.3 million people depending on electricity from the Lake and 8 million people drinking its water, serious conservation programs and restrictions must be put in place.

Agriculture consumes 60% to 80% of water in the area and any restrictions on agricultural water use would have a serious economic downside. Coastal California desalination plants and other measures will have to be explored and the neighboring, Lake Powell, may eventually have to be drained into Lake Mead.

Related post:

Falling Bridges and No Water

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