News & PoliticsCatastrophic drought threat in Lake Mead

The western United States is hit by another drought, threatening millions of people’s access to water.

The intensity of the drought in western North America was evident at Lake Mead, formed by the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River. Located near Las Vegas on the ArizonaNevada border, the lake is the largest water reservoir in the United States, serving 25 million people in three states and Mexico.But now the lake’s water level is so low, revealing the bodies of murder victims from decades ago that had previously sunk in its depths. One was found in a barrel with a shot probably because someone thought it would be hidden at the bottom of the huge reservoir forever.

As dead bodies fuel debates about the Las Vegas gang’s past, water experts warn of even more worrying consequences. If the lake continues to recede, it could reach levels so low that the Hoover Dam would no longer produce electricity or supply water to cities.

California residents have been instructed to conserve water at home to avoid the risk of enforced supply cuts as the US West Coast’s severe drought is expected to worsen during the northern hemisphere summer months.In Southern California, watering is only allowed once a day.

The guidelines state that people should wash the outside areas of the houses less and take shorter showers. In Los Angeles, many have already been urged to reduce their water use by 35% as California experienced its driest start to the year on record.

NASA, the US space agency that tracks changes in water levels, is warning that the western United States is entering one of the worst droughts on record.

“With climate change, it looks like the dominoes are about to fall,” says NASA hydrologist JT Reager. “We have higher temperatures, less precipitation and less snow. The reservoirs are starting to dry up, and that’s in places like the west [dos Estados Unidos]we have forest fires.”One of the most feared consequences of the drought are wildfires like those that ravaged California in 2019.

These factors are beginning to have an “increasing impact,” Reager told the BBC. “It’s like watching this catastrophe that came in slow motion and is now kind of accelerating.”Farmers are also beginning to feel the effects of the drought. After all, about 75% of Lake Mead’s water goes into agriculture.

More than onethird of the vegetables and twothirds of the fruits and nuts in the United States are grown in California. But thousands of acres are uncultivated because farmers aren’t getting enough water to irrigate their crops.

According to California farmer Bill Diedrich, the effects could be seen on supermarket shelves next year. He explains that this season’s products will hit stores next year while showing his fallow, completely dry fields. Normally, Diedrich would have planted canned tomatoes in the industry, but this year there wasn’t enough water.California is facing its worst drought since 1977

He hopes his children can continue to farm in California in the future. But now: “I don’t know what the possibilities are for that to happen.”

For many people living in California’s agricultural heartland, the wells have already dried up and they don’t have the money to dig deeper wells. Charities provide bottled water and large tanks of nonpotable water for washing.

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