Home » southern california » Worrying About the Next Glass of Water

Worrying About the Next Glass of Water

Lake Mead Continues to Shrink

The Sierra snowpack that is California’s main source of water is deeper this year than at any time within memory. We cannot say, unfortunately, that the long drought is finally over. We began this rainy season in the red as a result of overpumping groundwater. Somehow, we would have to restore the groundwater that has been pumped in the last several drought years. It’s like making a deposit in the bank for the lean years to come.

In Southern California, most of our water comes from two sources. First is the California Aqueduct which draws water from the Sierra snowpack and sends it some 400 miles (640 km) to the reservoirs that supply Los Angeles. The second source is another aqueduct which brings water west from the Colorado River. That source is problematical because the Rocky Mountains have not had a particularly good year; and the states along the Colorado River are feuding with one another over water rights.

The above photo shows graphically how the water level of Lake Mead has shrunk over the last few years. What used to be a rush of water through the spillways is now a mere trickle. I wonder how much winds up crossing the border into Mexico and the Gulf of California.

Is our wet winter something we are likely to experience in future years? And will the Rockies share in the wealth? Or will the present greenery turn bone dry and feed the wildfires of the future?