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Lake Mead Will Go Dry

February 19, 2008
by John Weisheit

Intake towers at Hoover Dam
Intake towers at Hoover Dam

Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego created quite a stir in the media February 12, 2008 with their press release, which stated that there is a 50 percent chance Lake Mead, a key source of water for millions of people in the southwestern United States, will be dry by 2021, if climate changes as expected and future water usage is not curtailed. Click here to read the science paper.

The Colorado River water managers immediately discounted the independent work of these scientists. Larry Dozier, deputy general manager of the Central Arizona project had this to say, "[Our] studies evaluated a broad range of potential hydrologic conditions and several alternative operating criteria. Lake Mead did not 'go dry' at any time during the various scenarios. Shortages were manageable."

Terry Fulp, area manager of Hoover Dam operations for the Bureau of Reclamation said the following, "There is nothing new about the findings in the Scripps study. Such 'doom and gloom' predictions have been circulating for years now. In my lifetime, I don't expect to ever see it."

Thomas Piechota, an associate professor at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, remarked, "First, an assumption was made that no shortages would be declared on the Colorado River under low reservoir conditions. This is in opposition to the shortage criteria that the basin states recently established in the Final Environmental Impact Statement: Colorado River Interim Guidelines for Lower Basin Shortages and Coordinated Operations for Lake Powell and Lake Mead."

The study by Scripps referenced CROSS, or Colorado River Open Source Simulator, which is available on this very web site. With this simulator you can run, if you choose to, your own worst case scenario that DOES take into consideration declared shortages and climate change projections.

Why take anybody's word for it when you can decide the truth for yourself?

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