New study shows that drought could shut down the biggest US Hydro Plants in the next few years

According to newly-released projections from the US Bureau of Reclamations, there's a significant chance that both Lake Powell and Lake Mead — the largest hydroelectric power sources in the country — will stop working in the next few years.

Lake Powell had already dropped to about 33% of its capacity in July 2021. According to the Bureau's new calculations, there's a 34% chance of reaching "critically low reservoir elevations" by 2023. There's a 25% chance it'll happen by 2024.

Lake Powell isn't quite as dire, with only a 12% chance of dropping to critically low capacity by 2024. That likelihood goes up by another 10% in 2025, and will likely keep going up. from there. Or, as CNN puts it:

There is also a greater than 1-in-5 chance that water levels in Lake Mead will fall below 1,000 feet above sea level in 2025. That is barely 100 feet above what is considered "dead pool," the level at which water can no longer flow through Hoover Dam.

Lake Mead provides water for 25 million people in the western US, while Lake Powell supports about 5.8 million homes and businesses between Nebraska and Nevada.

Climate change is real.

5-Year Probabilistic Projections [US Bureau of Reclamations]

There's a 1-in-3 chance Lake Powell won't be able to generate hydropower in 2023 due to drought conditions, new study says [Drew Kann / CNN]

Image: Gayinspandex / Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY-SA 3.0)