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Planning for Drought in America – Dam Construction

There were days when the flanks of Grand Mesa would be covered by snow, but for the most part of the recent winters, the flanks have been snowless. Skiers have mostly been disappointed, as have been the fish coming in through summer. The winter view from the Grand Junction is no more the same. Though the drought’s impact will be covered up by the bounty of the previous year’s store in the reservoirs, the future is bleak. The most concerning part are the trend that has been set for the last 20 years in this region. 

There has been a surplus of drought over the last few years than there has been in the previous 20 years in the entire Colorado River Basin. As per a report by the Colorado River Research group, the exceeding trend of dry years is a more severe catastrophe to worry about than a single drought spell. It merely means that the climate is moving towards aridification. Other studies also show that the evaporating snowpack is leading to a marked decrease in the water level of Lake Powell. Water Managers have also observed this trend in the dropping levels of Lake Powell and Lake Mead.

The people of Arizona, California, and Nevada have started to check their water use, which has helped Lake Mead not to go down the official shortage level. Water monitoring officials in upper states of Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico have conducted exercises to come up with the right solutions. Several studies done by the officials and experts have shown that if things are not controlled now, it can also affect the agriculture of Western States. Going by historical numbers of hydrology, it is very much a possibility that lake Powell drops by 20 percent.

 To address this issue, reservoirs like Flaming Gorge and Blue Mesa have to release extra water to Lake Powell, and new plans have to be implemented by the lower states. To further drop the risk, the locals have to conserve water by different water conservation activities and store the water in a “bank” and release whenever it is needed. But results will only show if a significant amount of water is saved.

Another solution can be paying money to users who reduce their use of water appropriately. However, it is unclear if reducing water usage can help the water level of Lake Powell. And it is also costly to pay people to reduce their usage. Another issue is fairness; all the states and cities have to show sensitivity to achieve the goal. All the studies and data show that there is a more significant risk than ever of water scarcity.  New and improved way to tackle this issue should be formulated as the old ways are no more useful. With the existing strategies, it is still possible to reduce the use of water. However, it might be an expensive approach. If the locals can stand together and help the government with solutions, there is a chance that dought can be a rare factor.