If you live in the southwest United States, you are in danger of severe drought.
You may have to face extreme water shortages in coming days and weeks, as the Colorado River is drying up.
The federal government is currently about to declare a national emergency; scientists say that something this bad hasn’t happened in centuries.
The Colorado River Basin provides water to 40 million Americans.
To say that this is a crisis is an understatement.
An Empty Hoover Dam
The Hoover Dam has been a primary source of water for many places in the region. It fills up from Lake Mead in Nevada and gushes out water supplies for the southwest.
However, now Hoover is mostly empty, with very low water levels.
Nevada’s water services chief Pat Mulroy calls today’s reality a “different world” and says the crisis is very serious.
The basic issue that’s happening is that the Colorado River’s portion, which feeds into Lake Mead, is dried up.
The result is that Lake Mead has reached the shallowest water levels ever seen in American history, all the way down to 63% empty.
This area of the Colorado River feeds into Phoenix, Southern California, Las Vegas and other small cities and farmland. The wider river is also very important for states like Utah and New Mexico who depend on its outflow of water.
ICYMI, the town of Hyde Park warns it could run out of water on SATURDAY because people won't cut outdoor use.@UtahDNR warns EVERYONE faces water shortages if the drought continues into next year: https://t.co/DIWwvurX8e @fox13 #utpol #Utah pic.twitter.com/JYrT1Fn1WB
— Ben Winslow (@BenWinslow) June 30, 2021
Why is This Drought Happening?
According to scientists, this is happening because of climate change. They also point to overuse of water among many growing communities in the Southwest.
There’s also the simple issue of water usage:
People in cities like Phoenix want to have nice green lawns and run the dishwasher a couple of times per day; when you multiply that by millions of people in dozens of cities, you get water shortages.
Either way, the result is that the government is expected to announce an emergency water shortage in the near future.
The consequence is that if you live in Nevada or Arizona, you will be required by law to use less water next year.
This will especially impact farmers who need water for their crops; they will have cuts of at least 25% in the amount of water they will be allowed to use.
As you can imagine, food prices will therefore continue to rise dramatically.
Global food prices rose 4.8% in May from the previous month, the biggest monthly increase since 2010: UN data. Prices in May were nearly 40% higher than a year earlier and the FAO’s food-price index was at its highest level since 2011. https://t.co/0YGZb0GW49
— Lisa Abramowicz (@lisaabramowicz1) July 2, 2021
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that this is a serious crisis. There is also a chance that falling levels in Lake Mead could begin to lead to electricity outages.
The bottom line is that the government is going to have to react quickly and come up with solutions if they want to avoid a crisis.
The economy is already recovering more slowly than it should be, and the rising prices of food are not making anyone happy.
It’s time to start coming up with solutions to what’s happening in the Southwest.