The top of the first water intake pipe at Lake Mead is now visible as the lake’s plummeting water level hit a new record low.
“It’s official – the top of Intake No. 1 is now visible and the low lake level pumping station is now operational,” tweeted Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA).
After nearly half a century, the first intake is out of service and can no longer draw water. Water levels at the lake hit record lows this week, falling to 1,056 feet. Luckily, SNWA has two other intakes at much lower levels that are still operational.
“There was no impact to operation’s ability to deliver water,” Bronson Mack, public outreach officer SNWA, told CNN. “Customers didn’t notice anything. It was a seamless transition,” he said while referring to the switch of intake number 2.
Water flowing down the Colorado River supplies Lake Mead and Powell. The river system supports 40 million people across seven Western states and Mexico.
But as the Western half of the US faces one of the worst megadroughts in 1,200 years, water officials, such as Tom Buschatzke, Arizona’s director of water resources, recently warned of an impending water crisis that could affect the drinking water for millions of people.
“I never thought this day would come this quickly … But I think we always knew that this day was potentially out there,” he said.
Meanwhile, in Southern California, water officials declared a water shortage emergency for the first time, according to KTLA in Los Angeles. New restrictions for Ventura and San Bernardino counties go into effect on June 1 and restrict people’s ability to outdoor watering.
Social media users responded in shock to Lake Mead’s intake pipe above the surface.
“Holy Christ, that’s bad,” one person said, quoting SNWA’s tweet.
Water wars in the West?
“It’s time to pull California’s straws from the Colorado River,” said one person.
The good news is Lake Mead has two other water inlets at lower depths to draw from, though levels are dropping fast as there is no sign the megadrought will be abating anytime soon.
by Tyler Durden
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