The ongoing drought is causing increasing water shortages in the western United States, which means that drinking water restrictions are already in place. In the vast agricultural areas, spraying bans are being prepared in severely affected regions.
Widespread restrictions on water use seem inevitable in the coming months, with potentially serious consequences for western states, especially for farmers who irrigate many farms and crops.
In California, where the vast almond groves supply 80 percent of the world's production, some farmers have already started clearing trees to conserve water. Some American farmers are switching to less thirsty crops or leaving land fallow. California farms account for 80% of water use.
Several states have already released their drought plans drawn up in 2019. In it, the savings on water are divided among the states. Nearly half of the US is already experiencing drought. A few weeks ago this was still 39%.
And summer hasn't even started yet. In July and August there is little or no precipitation in the interior. Moreover, the temperatures are then (very) high, so that no improvement is expected in the coming months.
Some areas, such as the Colorado River Valley, are experiencing the worst drought ever. As a result, water resources in reservoirs have to be used out of necessity. In the United States, the water level in Lake Mead has fallen to its lowest level since the Hoover Dam was built in the 1930s.
Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the US, crucial to the water supply of 25 million people, including in western cities like Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Tucson and Las Vegas. The water in Lake Mead is already more than 42 meters lower than 20 years ago, below the previous low of 2016, as reported by USA Today.
The Colorado's tributaries are now so depleted that Lake Mead's levels are forecast to continue to fall through 2023. It currently has only 36% percent of its 'normal' capacity.