Las Vegas Will Go Dry If Water Levels Drop 7% Further - Lake Mead Hits Record Lows
Six weeks ago we highlighted how "screwed" Las Vegas is as the ongoing 14-year drought weighs on water levels. Today, AP reports, Lake Mead - the main source of fresh water for Las Vegas and its 40 million visitors - just hit record low levels at 1080 feet. Most concerning - at 1,000 feet, drinking water intakes will no longer function and Las Vegas will go dry. As analysts concluded previously, "unless it can find a way to get more water from somewhere, Las Vegas is out of business. Yet they’re still building, which is stupid."
Once-teeming Lake Mead marinas are idle as a 14-year drought steadily drops water levels to historic lows. Officials from nearby Las Vegas are pushing conservation, but are also drilling a new pipeline to keep drawing water from the lake.
Hundreds of miles away, farmers who receive water from the lake behind Hoover Dam are preparing for the worst.
The lake has dropped to 1,080 feet above sea level this year - down almost the width of a football field from a high of 1,225 feet in 1983.
A projected level of 1,075 feet in January 2016 would trigger cuts in water deliveries to Arizona and Nevada.
At 1,000 feet, drinking water intakes would go dry to Las Vegas, a city of 2 million residents and a destination for 40 million tourists per year that is almost completely dependent on the reservoir.
Bagnall, who owns Morningstar Farms in Coolidge, Arizona, worries about the future of farming in the region. Tighter supplies mean there will be less farming and fewer dollars going to agricultural services like fertilizer suppliers.
"Eventually," he said, "the prices are going to hit the consumer. Sooner or later, it's got to go up. So it's just a domino effect."
One proposal is for landlocked Nevada to pay billions of dollars to build solar-powered desalination plants in the Pacific off Mexico, taking Mexico’s share of Colorado River water in exchange.
But Mr Mrowka said: “The Colorado is essentially a dying river. Ultimately, Las Vegas and our civilisation in the American South West is going to disappear, like the Indians did before us.”
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The bottom line - get there now, watch the fountains, drink the water, swim in the lake... (and sell your house)
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