Lake Mead is a huge and incredible lake. If you’ve never seen it, you should. It’s an easy road trip for us in southern Arizona; it’s right on the way to Las Vegas. One of these days I’ll tour the dam.
The water level in Lake Mead is reaching record lows and the popular narrative maintains that drought brought on by human-caused climate change is to blame. But the government’s own data from the Bureau of Reclamation shows this is not true.
Imagine a large city has been built in the middle of the Sahara Desert. Since no precipitation falls there, a large man-made reservoir is created with water piped in from a thousand miles away. The desert city grows over time, but the water supply does not. Over the years, the desert city must ration water as the reservoir is drained due to overuse. In this hypothetical situation, would it be rational to blame the water shortage on drought and global warming? No.
Yet, this is the situation we have with Lake Mead.
As can be seen in the Bureau of Reclamation’s official estimate of the yearly natural water flows into Lake Mead, there has been no long-term trend in water flow into the reservoir.
Most of the water supplying the Colorado River at this location comes from snowmelt in the upper Colorado River watershed. The April snowpack in that region also shows no trend.
So, why is Lake Mead losing so much water? The answer is overuse.
Steve Parker, M.D.
PS: ANFSCD = and now for something completely different