A new study concludes that within a decade, growing water demand in the West and reduced runoff due to drought may deplete waters feeding the 2,080-MW Hoover Dam, a facility that generates power for more than a million people in Arizona, Nevada, and Southern California (Figure-1).

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Drought and increased demand could be threatening Hoover Dam’s ability to produce hydro power. Source:

factors are causing a net deficit of nearly one million acre-feet of water per year in the Colorado River system, which includes Lake Powell and Lake Mead. The study estimates a 50% chance that Lake Mead, already operating at a deficit,could drop too low for power production. Additionally, the Scripps researchers predict that there is a 50% chance that by 2021, Lake Mead could run dry if water demand is not curbed and climate changes continue as expected.

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