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TIL that Vegas is running out of water and electricity. After a 14-year drought, experts say that the water level in the reservoir created by the Hoover Dam which provides Vegas with water and power is now well below half full.(r/todayilearned)
It’s actually more of a legislative issue than a physical issue. The water rights allotments to the Colorado go back 1922, well before Vegas was the city it is today. At the moment, the water of the ‘lower Colorado’ is divided up between Arizona, California, and Nevada, with CA getting 58.7%, AZ getting 37.3%, and NV getting…4%. Re-work the 1922 pact to grow a little less lettuce in the Phoenix desert and push a little more water to the NV side, and voila, no crisis for Vegas.
However, Vegas is doing an excellent job on water conservation and sources of electricity. Hoover Dam isn’t that big of a deal for power for Vegas, as it only gets about 23% of the power generated by the dam, which in turn is only a small percentage of the total power generation for the area. It’s probably fine for a while on both the current water and power allocations, as a) Vegas isn’t really growing as quickly anymore, and b) it continues to drop its water-per-capita rates year on year.
It’s a pretty bad article with out-of-date info. There’s definitely a drought on, and that ‘third straw’ they talk about is online and operating now, but it’s not like the zombie apocalypse is right around the corner and nobody is doing anything about it.
Also, as other posters have suggested, read (or watch) Cadillac Desert if you want a good overview of western water issues. Guaranteed you’d be saying “WTF, southwest?” for a while after that.