Lake Mead may become a dead pool because of intense drought

Via Flickr

Grace Smith | June 30, 2022

Lake Mead, a lake on the border of Arizona and Nevada, experienced an extremely low water level on Thursday at 1,043.8 feet: the lowest level since 1930 when the lake was filled. Over 25 million people rely on water from the lake, which is also the nation’s largest reservoir. 

As of January 2022, Lake Mead is now at only 34 percent of its capacity. If the water level reaches below 895 feet, it will be classified as a dead pool. This means the lake will be too low to flow downstream or over the Hoover Dam, the lake’s lowest water outlet.

At the end of April, one of the water intake valves, which has been used since 1971, became exposed to air. This is the first valve to be above water in the lake and can no longer be in service.

The decrease in water comes from a drought occurring in the western United States that is described as the West’s worst drought in 1,200 years. In a Nature Climate Change study published in February 2022, authors estimated that 42 percent of the soil moisture depletion in the West from 2000-2021 was caused by human-provoked climate change. The drought, which started in 2000, will likely continue until at least 2030.

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