Lake Mead Nears Dead Pool Status as Water Levels Hit Another Historic Low

Lake Mead’s water levels this week dropped to historic lows, bringing the nation’s largest reservoir less than 150 feet away from “dead pool” — when the reservoir is so low that water cannot flow downstream from the dam.

Lake Mead’s water level on Wednesday was measured at 1,044.03 feet, its lowest elevation since the lake was filled in the 1930s. If the reservoir dips below 895 feet  a possibility still years away — Lake Mead would reach dead pool, carrying enormous consequences for millions of people across Arizona, California, Nevada and parts of Mexico.

Olivenhain Municipal Water District Logo landscape design workshops

OMWD Certifies Hydroelectric Turbines at David C. McCollom Water Treatment Plant

Encinitas, Calif. — Hydroelectric generators at Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s David C. McCollom Water Treatment Plant have qualified for the California Energy Commission’s Renewables Portfolio Standard Program and will now generate Renewable Energy Certificates that contribute to the state goal of achieving 60% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

The California Energy Commission’s RPS program was established in 2002 and was accelerated in 2018 by Senate Bill 100, which set a target of achieving 60% of retail sales of electricity from renewable sources by 2030. The hydroelectric generators at OMWD’s water treatment plant have been in place since its startup in 2002, offsetting roughly half of the plant’s power demands and saving as much as $60,000 per month in energy costs.

Vast Swath of US at Risk of Summer Blackouts, Regulator Warns

A vast swath of North America from the Great Lakes to the West Coast is at risk of blackouts this summer as heat, drought, shuttered power plants and supply-chain woes strain the electric grid.

Power supplies in much of the US and part of Canada will be stretched, with demand growing again after two years of pandemic disruptions, according to an annual report. It’s among the most dire assessments yet from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, a regulatory body that oversees grid stability.

A Watershed Moment

A “mega-drought” across the Southwest will force the federal government to declare a water shortage on the Colorado River this month. The decision would be historic for the watershed, which serves 40 million people in seven states: California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and Wyoming. The river system provides irrigation that turns desert into farmland and is an important source of drinking water and hydroelectric power. The looming first-ever declaration will be triggered when the country’s largest reservoir, Lake Mead, dips below a certain level.

The Colorado River is Drying Up Faster Than Federal Officials Can Keep Track. Mandatory Water Cuts are Looming

Ablunt new report based on June runoff conditions from the Colorado River into Lake Powell and Lake Mead shows the reservoirs fast deteriorating toward “dead pool” status, where stored water is so low it can’t spin the massive hydroelectric power generators buried in the dams, and large swaths of Arizona farmland going fallow.

After Decades Of Warming And Drying, the Colorado River Struggles to Water the West

The Colorado River is tapped out.

Another dry year has left the waterway that supplies 40 million people in the Southwest parched. A prolonged 21-year warming and drying trend is pushing the nation’s two largest reservoirs to record lows. For the first time this summer, the federal government will declare a shortage.

Climate change is exacerbating the current drought. Warming temperatures are upending how the water cycle functions in the Southwest. The 1,450-mile long river acts as a drinking water supply, a hydroelectric power generator, and an irrigator of crop fields across seven Western states and two in Mexico. Scientists say the only way forward is to rein in demands on the river’s water to match its decline.

Water Use in the West Can Hurt…or Help…the Energy Sector, Report Says

A team of researchers have developed a framework to evaluate complex connections between water and energy, and options for adaptations in response to an evolving climate.

Historic Deal Revives Plan for Largest US Dam Demolition

An agreement announced Tuesday paves the way for the largest dam demolition in U.S. history, a project that promises to reopen hundreds of miles of waterway along the Oregon-California border to salmon that are critical to tribes but have dwindled to almost nothing in recent years.

Decline in Hydropower Hampered by Drought Will Impact Utility Costs

Hydroelectric power from dams usually provides about 15% of California’s electricity needs. But in 2015, at the zenith of the worst drought in California’s recorded history, it supplied only 6%.

Agency Throws Curveball in Largest U.S. Dam Demolition Plan

Federal regulators on Thursday threw a significant curveball at a coalition that has been planning for years to demolish four massive hydroelectric dams on a river along the Oregon-California border to save salmon populations that have dwindled to almost nothing.