Lake Mead’s ‘bathtub ring’ shows historic water decline as first-ever ‘tier 1’ shortage to be declared

The worsening western drought is putting several other reservoirs at risk of historic lows

Related video: Drone footage shows California’s worst drought since the 1970s

The US is expected to declare its first-ever “tier one” water shortage at Lake Mead – the largest US reservoir by volume – after its water level reached historic lows and continues to decline.

The reservoir on the Colorado river is at only 37 per cent capacity, the lowest level since the lake was filled after the construction of the Hoover Dam in the 1930s. It currently sits at 1,069 feet above sea level.

Recent photos reveal the drastic change in water levels. Lake Mead has been left with a “bathtub ring” of white minerals on its shoreline due to the decline.

The historic lows may trigger the federal government to announce a shortage, according to reports.

The lake sits near Las Vegas, along the Nevada-Arizona border and provides electricity for several areas in Arizona, California and Nevada. It is also a source of water for urban, rural and tribal lands across the southwest.

The top photograph shows water levels at Lake Mead in 2003 compared to this week

However, the Colorado river basin has witnessed one of the driest years so far with many reservoirs at or approaching historic low levels. Like Lake Mead, Lake Powell also only at 34 per cent of its total capacity and could hit its lowest level next year since it was filled in 1964. Several of California’s reservoirs are also at very low levels.

The drought-like situation in the southwest, triggered after record temperatures and lower snowpack melt, is raising fears of water shortage and reduced electricity generation capacity.

“We’re at the point where some serious decisions will likely have to be made,” Doug Hendrix, US bureau of reclamation, was quoted by KTLA as saying. The news channel reported quoting him that the record low water levels in Lake Mead is expected to trigger the bureau’s first-ever declaration of a tier-one water shortage.

The declaration would mean calls of cutback starting next year in the amount of water sent to states of Nevada and Arizona from the Colorado River water, including the share of Mexico would be affected.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in