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Old 05-14-2013, 03:18 PM
Location: Las Vegas
681 posts, read 4,057,290 times
Reputation: 445


Originally Posted by Buzz123 View Post
First of all, Lake Mead's shrinkage has very little to do with the growth of Las Vegas. It has to do with the decade long drought in the Rockies. The water in the Colorado River comes from snow melt in the Rocky Mountains - specifically, the west slope of the Rockies. Snow on the east slope goes inland. When the drought ends, it will take several years of above average snowfall to bring the lake back up. But keep in mind that Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon Dam are upstream from us, and should never have been built. But still, they control how much water goes down stream starting there. One year they waited too long to release water from Lake Powell and they almost took out both dams. They had almost more water pouring over the spillways then the spillways could handle.

The water in the lake is measured by elevation above sea level of the surface, not depth, which varies a lot. It has a long way to go before it would dry up, and that's never likely to happen in our lifetimes.

When Hoover (formerly Boulder) Dam was built, Las Vegas was just a place on the map where the trains stopped for water (which back then came from the underground aquifer we now call The Springs Preserve). Back then in the 1930's no one even dreamed of Las Vegas growing to 20,000 let alone 2,000,000, so Nevada did not demand much water from Lake Mead. Arizona and California got many times more of the water than Nevada did because they had farms to irrigate and we didn't. That treaty has been in effect since the 1930's, and despite the Nevada delegation to the Colorado River Commission trying many times to get more water from the dams on the river, the Department of the Interior has never changed the terms.

So until someone can convince the Feds to give us a larger allocation we will have to look elsewhere for water. And that is why the SNWA has caused such a stir in the cow counties where they want to tap into the natural springs up in Lincoln and (I think) White Pine Counties.

Very nice writeup Buzz
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Old 05-14-2013, 03:26 PM
Location: Giethoorn, Netherlands
629 posts, read 980,945 times
Reputation: 736
Originally Posted by bumpersignal View Post
CNN Video - Breaking News Videos from CNN.com

Check out the video that shows 30 year timelapse of the entire world, and they highlight Lake Mead's shrinkage due to Vegas growth. Has anyone given any thought to what happens when it dries up (which looks like could potentially be soon).
Nice post.

Growth does not equal progress in a world with finite resources.
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Old 05-14-2013, 03:37 PM
Location: Silicon Valley
3,671 posts, read 7,977,248 times
Reputation: 2933
IIRC, Nevada gets 2% of the allocation of water from the Colorado River, and the average annual shortfall (outflow compared to inflow) at Lake Mead during the last ten years has been around 10%. So basically Nevada could stop taking water completely, and it would barely make a dent in the falling water level of Lake Mead.

I've read articles online that state that lake levels below 1075 feet would force renegotiation of the agreement that divides up the Colorado River water, and a level of 1025 feet would completely expose the intake towers to the hydroelectric turbines, stopping power generation. You've probably also read of problems in digging the "third straw" that is supposed to insure the Valley's drinking water supply should the lake drop lower.
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