Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Drought in America – water shortage in Colorado reaches alarming proportions

The water level in Lake Mead, the largest reservoir of the Colorado River, has dropped to record levels. (Photo Coalition / The Associated Press / | John Locher)

In the past, Colorado has always carried more or less water. But what used to be is no longer a suitable indicator of the future, warns US water management engineer Kevin Wheeler: “Since the year 2000 we have seen a decrease in runoff, what we now call the ‘millennium drought’. Year after year We wait for it to end, but it has never happened in all 23 years. If anything, it seems to be getting worse. Weather forecast, this time again we have a pretty dry year Will happen.

Most of the meltwater no longer reaches Colorado

Colorado is over 2,300 kilometers long. Its lifeblood is the meltwater from the high peaks of the Rocky Mountains. Kevin Wheeler says that like last year, it snowed as usual. “But only 30 percent of the meltwater flowed into Colorado. This is related to rising temperatures. Most of the meltwater seeps into dry soil, or evaporates.”

Notorious shortage of water puts electricity supply at risk

Colorado now carries a fifth less water than it did in 2000. Two large reservoirs on the river, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, were almost full at the time. Now it’s completely different – ​​and the region’s two and a half million people have to worry about their electricity supply: “The water level is exceptionally low and both dams are only 25 percent full. If the level continues to drop.” If this happens, the hydroelectric power plants there can no longer operate their turbines safely and have to be shut down. At this point, the power generation suddenly ceases. The situation in Lake Powell is particularly worrisome.”

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Climate change increased the problem

Kevin Wheeler now works at the University of Oxford in England. But he has lived in Colorado for a long time and knows it very well. Along with five other experts, the engineer is now presenting a concept for how the receding river could be used more sustainably than now. Gone are the days of ignoring scientific advice and making a fool of yourself. A return to normal drains can no longer be expected. Climate change may increase water scarcity:

“We calculated how much water use on the Colorado River would need to be reduced to prevent dam levels from falling further. We get between 2.5 and 3.8 billion cubic meters per year — in a river system that currently requires us 15 supplies 17 billion cubic meters of water.

Water consumption should be very less

The numbers represent a decrease in the order of 15 to 20 percent. Kevin Wheeler admits that this is no small thing, but huge savings are now necessary and even possible: “There can certainly be an increase in efficiency. Agriculture in Colorado uses most of the water to irrigate its fields. Better could use sprinkler systems that don’t evaporate as much water as before. It is a tradition in cities for everyone to water their lawns. But drought conditions are so severe that everyone has to limit themselves in some way or the other. Have to do it.”

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Ironically, the water crisis has made good arguments for the American population to limit their meat consumption. According to Wheeler, most of the irrigated farms along the Colorado are used to grow fodder crops for cattle: “So ultimately, our diet is one of the main reasons that the river is shrinking. I am not vegetarian. And I love hamburgers! But I realized that there is a lot to be gained by eating less meat.”

Before the US Congress, Interior Ministry experts recently called on Colorado to severely restrict water use. So will the concept of saving from science open up to politics? Things are not so bad this time.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Deskhttps://nationworldnews.com
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