Le lac Powell se rapproche du statut de «piscine morte» au milieu de la méga-sécheresse occidentale

Le lac Powell se rapproche du statut de «piscine morte» au milieu de la méga-sécheresse occidentale
The US West remains in the grips of a two-decade “megadrought” linked to the climate crisis

Water levels in Lake Powell have dropped precipitously in the past few years, moving the lake even closer to “dead pool” status.

The reservoir is at a historic low as the US West remains in the grips of a two-decade “megadrought” that is linked to the crise climatique.

The United Nations Environment Programme recently averti that Lake Powell and Lake Mead, the two largest reservoirs in the country, were in danger of reaching “dead pool status”. This means that no water would be able to flow through the dams holding them back.

Lake Powell sits behind the Colorado River’s Glen Canyon Dam on the border between Utah and Arizona.

En avril, the reservoir dropped to just over 3,522 feet in elevation, the lowest level ever recorded and well below the lake’s full capacity at 3,700ft.

Dead pool status for Lake Powell is at 3,370ft, however another dangerous benchmark looms even closer. At 3,490ft – 32ft below where it currently standsthe lake would stop producing electricity from its hydroelectric power stations.

En mai, the US Bureau of Reclamation mentionné that there about a 25 per cent chance the lake’s water levels would fall too low to produce electricity by 2024.

The Glen Canyon Dam produces about five billion kilowatt hours of electricity per year, enough to power plus de 400,000 maisons aux Etats-Unis, with electricity sent to seven different states.

The Bureau of Reclamation does not forecast the lake reaching the lower dead pool status within the next five years.

The past two decades in the US west have been the driest in at least 1,200 années, according to a recent study, which has absolutely devastated water sources like Lake Powell.

The area around Lake Powell is currently experiencing “extreme drought” conditions, selon the US government’s drought monitor, meaning “widespread water shortages”.

Et comme la planète se réchauffe, the climate crisis is expected to make drought conditions in the region even worse.

The impact of drought on Lake Powell has also been exacerbated by the overconsumption of water from the Colorado River.

La semaine prochaine, a group of western states who rely on water from the river are required to provide an updated plan to the federal government on how they plan to reduce water use.

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