Economic Insider

Residents Depending on Lake Mead for Supply Fear of Water Shortage

Colorado River is named the most endangered river in the United States as the southwestern states face water shortages
Photo Credit: Caitlin Ochs

The largest water reservoir in the nation, Lake Mead, is on the verge of becoming a “deadpool,” meaning that the turbines of the nearby hydroelectric facilities would not be able to operate effectively. The incident would be the first in 86 years.

The likelihood of the possibility is quite high considering the clear changes Lake Mead is undergoing. For instance, Arthur Murzeau, a local traveler who made the trip to Las Vegas to visit the famed lake, claimed that the water is much lower than in pictures.

“I think we need [politicians] to take action. We need people to react and to be really aware of what’s going on,” said Murzeau.

Are people aware of the problem? — this is the issue.

Authorities have frequently sounded the alarm, warning of the looming disaster the country may face if the pattern continues, as the drought is at its worst in 1,200 years. Nevertheless, nothing has changed in Colorado’s population’s everyday lifestyle or activities. Over 40 million people rely on the river for their needs, according to statistics.

The increased calls informed numerous concerned departments, and protective measures were put in place. However, because areas anticipate a scarcity in the near future, analysts believe that the attempts may not be sufficient.

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What is ‘Mas Vegas’

Houses keep popping up south of Highway 39 and Hoover Dam, where there aren’t many water resources. RVs frequently go through the region known as “Mas Vegas,” which is continually being developed with homes.

The situation is the same in Rio Verde, in Phoenix’s northern outskirts. Realtor Karen Nabity expressed disappointment that so many individuals continue to be permitted to purchase properties in the region and construct homes there despite the scarcity of water.

“They don’t have a disclosure to the owner of that property to say, ‘you’re building this house, but do you know on January first we don’t have a water source for you,” Nabity said.

In the Rio Verde Foothills neighborhood, 500 homes will be at risk of running out of water in January 2023. Unfortunately, the towns in Scottsdale are using up all the water supplied by the Colorado River, so there isn’t much left over to distribute.

“The Colorado River won’t be flowing, water won’t be flowing down the [Central Arizona Project] canals, that should be an ‘oh shit’ to this entire state. I’m an Arizona native, and for God’s sakes, wake up, Arizona, we need to do something, and we need to do it now,” added Nabity.

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The solution to the problem

Nabity said that due to communication provided to them in 2016, they were not caught off guard by the water scarcity. Therefore, Nabity started to assemble her neighbors in order to propose to the government the creation of a water district made to acquire property and water rights in order to discover a new source for their water reservoir. The suggestion is a widely used method in the nation. The Maricopa Country, however, rejected their proposal.

“What is our state doing? People are still planting grass; people are still watering yards. We need to have our state step up more and start doing bigger cutbacks now,” she said.

The Tucson city councilman expressed the same worry as many locals and suggested that more interventions be made.

“Three years from now, five years from now, whenever it is, we can all be standing along the banks of Colorado looking at a dry riverbed, saying all I did was take what I was entitled to, and we sucked it dry.”

Source: NPR

Opinions expressed by Economic Insider contributors are their own.

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