After 20 years, the megadrought in the western US is just getting warmed up, with major lakes and reservoirs on the brink of crisis levels.
Most of the humans and businesses within the Colorado River Watershed, including well known major reservoirs Lake Powell and Lake Mead,
as well as less famous Northern California reservoirs Lake Oroville and Lake Shasta have dropped to dangerous levels.
On the Nevada border, iconic Lake Tahoe water levels have fallen below the natural rim, which means water is no longer flowing into the Truckee River. As a result, kokanee salmon will be unable to spawn. Docks and boat ramps are now hundreds of feet from the new shoreline. The lake and surrounding area are just beginning to come to grips with the damage done by late summer’s Caldor wildfire, which has clouded the famous clear waters of the lake.
In the West, the water wars have never really stopped, but the conflict among “stakeholders” – agricultural businesses, tourism, fisheries and cities – is at crisis levels and guaranteed to intensify.