Wednesday, June 03, 2009

June 3rd 2009 midweek update

First, this Friday at The Bootlegger (S. LV Blvd at Robindale, just south of the Outlet Mall), Mundo's Hot Club of Las Vegas will be throwin' down the Gypsy Djazz, 11:45 pm. No cover or minimum. I'll be there.

Come out and support our friends and their great music.


I track the decline in the water level at Lake Mead, scraping the accruing data off a website and dumping them into an Excel spreadsheet. Here are some of my latest graphs, the first of which shows the month-by-month levels in yearly series since Jan 2000:

Below: Yearly averages since 2000 (with 2009 being calculated from Jan-May):

Finally, July over July since the historical high water mark of July 1983:

The level has declined 117'4" since January 2000! (from 1,214.26 in Jan 2000 to 1,096.92 in May 2009) That's roughly the equivalent of a 12-story building. The lake is currently at about 44% of capacity and dropping.

Yesterday, after hangin' with my Ma at the nursing home during supper, I drove out to the dam to shoot a few shots. Below, the significantly exposed hydroelectric intake towers, and the shoreline "bathtub ring."

UPDATE: Below, here's a nice aerial shot I found online, from March 1998. Wow.

Note on the far left of that photo, the overflow spillway, with the water level right up close to it. Now, note my shot over by the spillway yesterday, below.


Below, the current state of the U.S. 93 bypass now under construction just below the dam. It's being built to help facilitate our en masse Latter-Day Anasazi exodus once the water runs out.

(BTW, if you're not already hip to this, note that you can click directly on any of my photos or graphics for the enlarged original size.)

Pretty impressive engineering project.

BTW, the Las Vegas Sun has produced an excellent analytical reporting series on the southern Nevada drought problems.

"Las Vegas was first settled for its springs, springs that made it an oasis in the desert. Although those springs have decades since run dry, water is still the most import resource to Las Vegas and the dry Southwest.

And by all indications the region is only going to get dryer. Scientists predict devastating effects from global warming, conservationists are calling for a halt to growth in Southern Nevada as a way to preserve supplies and water managers are looking to ever more creative ways to reduce reliance on the overburdened Colorado River. A Colorado River reservoir at Lake Mead is the source of 90 percent of the valley's water supply. Water levels there have fallen steadily for nearly a decade..."

Highly recommended. I don't see any technically or economically viable solution to this situation.

UPDATE: I saw news of this last year, and just dug out a YouTube clip.
Spain's worst drought in decades has forced the city of Barcelona to begin shipping in drinking water in an unprecedented effort to avoid water restrictions.

For the first time ever, tankers began to deliver desperately needed drinking water to the parched region of five million people. Incredibly, Spain has seen almost no rain in the last eighteen months. Water levels have dropped so low in local reservoirs that a long forgotten medieval village has emerged from beneath a rapidly drying lake.

Sixty six tankers are expected to deliver water over the next few months. Meanwhile the Spanish government apears to have given up relying on rainwater. They are now constructing a desalination plant that will supply 60 billion litres of water a year to the parched region.


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