As democracy grows more desiccated in Washington, elsewhere in the country, where those crafty Chinese climate hoaxsters continue to ply their shenanigans, the talk of something dying of thirst is far less metaphorical. From NBC News:
Lake Mead's water level on Wednesday was measured at 1,044.03 feet, its lowest elevation since the lake was filled in the 1930s. If the reservoir dips below 895 feet — a possibility still years away — Lake Mead would reach dead pool, carrying enormous consequences for millions of people across Arizona, California, Nevada and parts of Mexico. "This is deadly serious stuff," said Robert Glennon, an emeritus professor at the University of Arizona who specializes in water law and policy.
Persistent drought conditions over the past two decades, exacerbated by climate change and increased water demands across the southwestern United States, have contributed to Lake Mead's depletion. Though the reservoir is at risk of becoming a dead pool, it would most likely take several more years to reach that level, Glennon said.
One problem piles on another. The federal Bureau of Reclamation is trying to fill up Lake Mead—and Lake Powell—again, but to do so, it has to regulate the use of the Colorado River by several western states.
Dead pool would not mean that there was no water left in the reservoir, but even before Lake Mead were to hit that point, there are concerns that water levels could fall so low that the production of hydroelectric power would be hindered.
"Electricity generation in our western reservoirs becomes a problem as the water level in the reservoirs goes down," Glennon said. As a reservoir is depleted, there is less water flowing through turbines and less liquid pressure to make them spin, which means the turbines produce less electricity, he added.
As the lake dries, sunken things start to be revealed, and that can get a little grisly. Again, from NBC News:
Boaters enjoying the spring day at Lake Mead made a jarring discovery May 1: a metal barrel that appeared to contain skeletal remains. “We believe this is a homicide as a result of a gunshot wound,” Lt. Ray Spencer with the Las Vegas police said. Efforts are underway to identify the victim, who investigators believe was killed between the mid-1970s and the early 1980s, based on clothing and footwear, Las Vegas police said. Just six days after the barrel discovery, another set of skeletal remains was found at Callville Bay within Lake Mead National Recreation Area, the National Park Service said. However, in this case, Las Vegas police said there was no evidence to suggest foul play.
There are a hundred jokes about “dead pool” here, and I’m leaving every damn one of them alone. They’ll emerge eventually.