Shelly Alcorn

Crisis at Lake Mead and Associations in the SW US

There is an ongoing crisis surrounding water levels in the Colorado Basin and in Lake Mead specifically. If you would like to watch the broadcast, you can find it below.

On June 14, 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Touton sent an emergency message to all seven states who comprise the Colorado River Basin and told them they need to come up with an emergency water reduction plan in order to attempt to stabilization the region.

According to recent data, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, two of the most important reservoirs in the Colorado Basin system are sitting at 24% and 27% of their total capacity, respectively. The seven states that comprise the Colorado Basin are Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, California, Nevada and parts of Northern Mexico.

None of the choices are good, and the situation could be catastrophic as 40 million people depend on the Colorado river for both water and electricity. Should Lake Mead continue to drop, there will be an issue with electricity generation as the bigger turbines won't work without water flow. As of today, August 2, 2022, water level is at 1,040 feet. Although projections say the lake won't drop to "dead pool" levels of 895 feet for "a few years" (whatever that means as global warming continues to worsen exponentially), if it drops to dead pool, they can't generate electricity.

Associations in these seven affected states need to pay attention to this issue. Agriculture is bound to be affected by severe water cuts, and lack of water and electricity can affect not only your own association's operations, but the operations of your members.

I encourage you to establish task forces to take a systematic look at the follow-on consequences of severe water restrictions and potential electrical cutbacks, particularly in the cities of Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Las Vegas and other affected communities.

Risk management in the 21st century is no longer an academic exercise. Increasingly, it is a call to action that none of us can afford to ignore. Links to articles with more information:

Lake Mead Keeps Dropping -

60 days and counting: Colorado River cutbacks achievable, experts say, as long as farm interests are on board -

What will happen to the Colorado River? What we know about looming water cuts:
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