Report: Lakes Mead, Powell May Not Refill ‘In Our Lifetimes’

BIG WATER, UTAH - MARCH 27: Low water levels are visible at the Wahweap Boat Rental marina
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The multi-year drought may be easing thanks to recent storms, but scientists suggest that Lake Mead and Lake Powell, reservoirs on the Colorado River, may not refill “in our lifestimes,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

A formerly sunken boat sits on cracked earth hundreds of feet from the shoreline of Lake Mead at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area on May 10, 2022, near Boulder City, Nev. (John Locher, File/AP)

The reservoirs have been dwindling over many years — not just due to the drought, but also due to demand that has increased over the many decades since the dams were built, and due to decreased rainfall in recent times.

The Times reports:

Lake Mead, located on the Arizona-Nevada border and held back by Hoover Dam, filled in the 1980s and 1990s. In 2000, it was nearly full and lapping at the spillway gates. But the megadrought over the last 23 years — the most severe in centuries — has worsened the water deficit and left Lake Mead about 70% empty.

Upstream, Lake Powell has declined to just 23% of full capacity and is approaching a point where Glen Canyon Dam would no longer generate power.

Even with this winter’s above-average snowpack in the Rocky Mountains, water officials and scientists say everyone in the Colorado River Basin will need to plan for low reservoir levels for years to come. And some say they think the river’s major reservoirs probably won’t refill in our lifetimes.

Some environmentalists blame climate change; others point to historic fluctuations in the western climate. Whatever the cause, the shortage is real — and could start to affect water use, farming, and power generation.

The crisis in the Colorado River basin has led to a standoff between California and six other states over an attempt to negotiate a new water agreement — the first in a century — to allocate water cuts among them.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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