Lake Mead Drying Up, Las Vegas Could Be At Risk

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If you were to take a boat and start floating across Lake Mead, you might notice that some parts of the surrounding rocks were considerably whiter than others. The horizontal ivory colored rock face might even seem pretty until you realize what they represent—Water that isn't there anymore.

Lake Mead is shrinking. This isn't just any lake that's getting smaller: This specific lake was created by the Hoover Dam in 1935. It provides water to millions of people across the states of Nevada, Arizona and California.

Satellite photos show that the Colorado River, which feeds Lake Mead is drying up. It strongly suggests that if the pattern of weather continues and the river is not replenished, Lake Mead could possibly go bone dry in the future.

Such a reality could have major consequences on the populations that rely on Lake Mead for water. Especially the city of Las Vegas, Nevada. A whopping ninety percent of the city's water supply comes from the lake. Losing that much water due to the loss of Lake Mead would be disastrous.

The city is taking action in order to try and avoid any major consequences. Las Vegas officials approved a new intake pipe which will be complete in 2015 and cost $817 million.

J.C. Davis, the project's spokesperson says of the major undertaking, "We're really scrambling to make sure that this intake is done in time."

There's no telling what measures other populations will be forced to take as the lake continues to shrink. Lake Mead's water levels are expected to drop another twenty feet this year. The lake already lost 4 trillion gallons of water over the past fourteen years and the situation is critical.

Davis notes that, "without Lake Mead, there would be no Las Vegas." Without a major water supply or an end to the drought, there may not be a lot of things if a viable solution isn't found.

California is dealing with a major drought situation and it has been suggested that the region may be experiencing a megadrought.

It's hoped that some relief may be coming to the region soon in the form of rain. Whether or not it will be enough remains to be seen.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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