Climate Signals summary: The Colorado River basin region, along with a large chunk of the Western US, is in the midst of a megadrought that scientists believe is the worst in over a thousand years.
In August, the federal government declared a shortage along the Colorado River, which provides water for residential use, farmland and power plants throughout the Southwest. Nevada and Arizona are required to cut their water use in response to the order, the first of its kind. If the drought gets worse, and there’s no sign of it letting up, California will follow next.
“It's our biggest long-term national security issue,” Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., told NBC News in his Tucson home. “I just had a grandkid. My granddaughter was born 3 1/2 months ago. You know, she is going to be around in the year 2100. What does the state of Arizona look like?”
The impacts of the megadrought are profound. The water, much of it collected from melting snow, powers the Hoover Dam and Glen Canyon Dam. Already, the Hoover Dam is operating at 25 percent below its operating capacity thanks to Lake Mead’s depleted levels.
“It is one thing to see this kind of thing on paper,” said Kristen Averyt, the Nevada state climate policy coordinator and a UNLV research professor. “There's a time that you really wish you were wrong, and unfortunately we were right. This is precisely the kind of thing that we've expected all along with respect to climate change.”
You can find the full story by Benjy Sarlin, Cal Perry and Kailani Koenig here: https://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/news/southwest-grapples-impacts-megadrought-has-no-end-sight-n1280267