Lake Mead -The Southwest’s Ticking Time Bomb


Lake Mead, as of  November 15, 2022, sits at a staggering 1,044 feet of water depth, way below the level it was at during November 15, 2021, which was 1065 feet deep. In 2020, it was 1081 feet deep. This seems to show a dangerous trend of the water level going down by 20 feet every year according to For reference to why this is bad, according to the National Park Service, the Hoover Dam requires Lake Mead to be exactly 950 feet, to produce power. Anything below that, and the dam can still let water out in smaller amounts, but it cannot produce power. If the water level goes below an elevation of 895 feet, the dam will no longer be able to feed the Colorado River which would be an ecological disaster in which the entire Colorado basin, and downstream areas, will dry up. Cities in the middle of the desert rely on Lake Mead as a reservoir for fresh water. If it doesn’t exist, the west would be almost entirely uninhabitable and massive cities like Phoenix, Flagstaff, Tucson, Vegas, Reno, Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Salt Lake City and the American southwest- would be in danger of  being uninhabitable.

One might be asking where did all the water go? One place it goes is to farmland in California. For example, almonds take about 1 gallon of water to produce at least one almond, not to mention that almonds aren’t native to this region. Large farms like these are carelessly overusing water supplies such as ground water and reservoirs like Lake Mead for their own capitalistic gain.

Although the almond farmers have been here for a long time, they have only now started causing problems due to the record droughts that the American southwest is experiencing. There has been no major rain in the southwest for a while due to climate change. According to the Lake Mead’s water level if it decreases by 20 feet per year, scientists estimate that Lake Mead will be unsalvageable by the end of this decade. We need to do something now, to stop this ecosystem time-bomb.