Lake Mead Could Run Dry by 2021, Scripps Says

    Lake Mead, one of the main water
    sources for residents of the Southwestern United States,
    could run dry by 2021 if current trends in water usage and climate change
    continue, two researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography said.

    Marine physicist Tim Barnett and climate scientist David
    Pierce concluded in a study that human factors, including demand for water and
    human-caused climate change, combined with natural forces, are contributing to
    a loss of nearly one million acre-feet of water every year from the Colorado
    River
    system. This amount, according to the study, could supply
    about eight million people if preserved.

    The loss of Lake Mead as a source of
    water could jeopardize the ability of the Colorado River
    system to sustain the population of the Southwest through an unusually dry year
    or in the event of a prolonged drought. This would create a highly
    unpredictable state of water delivery for the region, Barnett and Pierce said.

    Barnett and Pierce expressed deep concern for their
    findings, stressing that the reported trends could have severe consequences for
    the region.

    “We were stunned at the magnitude of the problem and how
    fast it was coming at us,” Barnett said in a statement.

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