Western US Telled to Reduce Water Use as a ‘Megadrought” Loom

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A megadrought is drying out the Colorado River, and depleting Lake Mead (the nation’s largest artificial reservoir), 

The federal government is making states reduce how much water they can get from it. This will force other states to make difficult decisions about how they use water. 

“This is a crisis that we haven’t seen in history,” Adel Hagekhalil, the general manager of Southern California’s Metropolitan Water District, According to CBS News

The western region of the United States is experiencing dangerously low water levels. Officials are warning residents to drastically reduce their water consumption. Due to the unique circumstances the area is in, the U.S. Department of the Interior declared the first-ever tier-2 shortage on the river.

The river supplies water to 40 millions people in seven states, Arizona, California. Nevada, Wyoming. New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. This isn’t a problem that only affects the West Coast. Federal officials suggested that every state could be forced into reducing their water consumption. 

“It is in our authorities to act unilaterally to protect the system. And we will protect the system,”Camille Calimlim Touson, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation commissioner.

The drought is partly due to climate change. The drought is now worse than it has been in more than 1,200 years. They hold only about half the water that they used to. CBS News reported that fishing guides couldn’t believe the rapid drop in water levels at Lake Powell. 

“I’m looking at spots that 30, 40-feet up the wall where my bait was hitting where I was fishing a year ago,”Paul McNabb, a fisherman. 

Millions of people living from Phoenix to Los Angeles could be cut off if water stops flowing under the Glen Canyon Dam and Hoover Dams. “We should not get to the day where we turn the faucet, and there’s no water,” Hagekhalil said. 

Part of President Joe Biden’s newly signed Inflation Reduction Act hopes to prevent that sort of dire situation before it can happen. This bill, which includes $373 billion for climate change mitigation, is the largest such package in American history.