US declares historic water shortage in Lake Mead

Lake Mead, a reservoir located on the Nevada-Arizona border, supplies millions of people in the western region of the country and is at its lowest levels.

WASHINGTON – The United States federal government announced Monday that Lake Mead, the nation’s largest reservoir, will operate in 2022 under historic water shortage conditions impacting two western states and Mexico.

“The Colorado River system is currently at 40% of its capacity, a reduction compared to the 49% registered at this time last year,” announced the Office of Reclamation, an agency attached to the Interior Ministry in charge of water supply.

Lake Mead, a reservoir located on the Nevada-Arizona border, supplies millions of people in the western region of the country and is at its lowest levels since its creation in the 1930s.

Lake Powell, the second largest reserve in the country and which is also fed by the Colorado River, also reached its lowest level: 32% of its capacity.

“Since 2000, the reduction in the Colorado River reservoirs has been dramatic, and scientists studying climate change tell us that there is no end in sight,” Jennifer Pitt, director of the Colorado River program for the United States, said in a statement. the Audubon organization.

“Like much of the west, the Colorado River is facing unprecedented challenges at an accelerating rate,” said Tanya Trujillo, assistant secretary for Water and Science for the Office of Reclamation.

According to projections, in 2022 the contingency plan will require a reduction of about 18% of the annual allocation for Arizona; 7% for Nevada; and 5% for Mexico.

Seven states of the United States and Mexico have signed agreements for the administration of the water of the Colorado River basin. “While these settlements have reduced risk, we have not eliminated the continuing decline in these important reserves,” said Camille Touton, also with the Office of Reclamation.

The western United States is suffering from the effects of chronic drought exacerbated by climate change, with historically low lakes, unusually early wildfires, water use restrictions and now a potentially record-breaking heat wave.

“Globally, 800 million people are at risk of chronic water shortages due to the drought caused by the 2ºC increase in temperature, according to a report by the United Nations climate experts obtained in June by AFP .

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