Lake Powell is at historic lows, and while for kayakers it may be a great opportunity to explore channels, it raises a big alarm regarding the future of water in the area.

river drought colorado river

PHOTOGRAPH BY MICHAEL MELFORD, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

Lake Powell is a reservoir on the Colorado River between the border of Utah and Arizona. It is the second largest man-made reservoir by maximum water capacity in the United States and a very popular touristic destination, with over 2 million visitors every year; once a majestic reservoir, now it is only a shadow of what it used to be, with drought changing the landscape in worrying ways.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 11 of the past 14 years have been drought years in the Southwest. The only difference was the type of the drought – “severe”, “extreme” or “exceptional” – not really words you wanna hear. Most climate scientists agree that with global warming and changing climate patterns, the situation will not only not improve – but it will get worse. There is growing concern regarding a mega drought in the Southwest.

Image via National Geographic.

Should the drought accentuate in Lake Powell, the results will be disastrous; many farms and dairy operations are depending on this water to survive. Also, the ecosystem is depending on the river – and despite severe measures, the drought continues. Homeowners are fined if they water their lawns, while private companies are forced to limit their water consumption. But the effect will be even more far fetching.

As conditions continue to deteriorate, prices will likely rise throughout the entire country – or at least a big part of it. Some companies will have to shut down and go away. They will leave behind unemployed people and poverty. The left behind people will either suffer or go to another place – likely somewhere pretty close where they will put more stress on local water resources. Cities like Los Angeles, Denver, Phoenix, and Las Vegas depend on water from the Colorado river, and they are also consuming more and more. Climate change is affecting us all, and we’re all responsible for finding solutions. Hopefully, we’ll be able to do so before it’s too late.

 Read a beautiful article on NG describing the situation in more detail here.

 

 

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