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The Fragile Superpower
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Making Waves
Bye Bye Lake Mead
In The Swing
I Am the Walrus
Good Gizmo

Features May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2

Bye Bye Lake Mead


The Great Mead Desert? Maybe. A pair of Scripps Institution of Oceanography researchers set off a storm across the Southwest in February when they publicized their finding that one of the region’s key water sources could be dry in 15 years.

According to research marine physicist Tim Barnett, SIO, Ph.D. ’66, and climate scientist David Pierce, Lake Mead could be unable to support water deliveries if predicted climate changes come to pass and if diversions to Las Vegas, Phoenix, Southern California and other customers take place as currently scheduled.

News of the findings attracted worldwide attention, especially within the offices of water agencies that rely on the Colorado River water stored at Lake Mead, the largest man-made reservoir in the United States. While some districts panned the findings, others saw the research as a call to step up searches for water from alternative sources and to boost conservation efforts.

For their part, Barnett and Pierce agreed that water use in the desert Southwest will likely need to be rethought.

“What we see is that we have a major problem staring us right in the face,” said Barnett in a February 13 interview with BBC World Radio.

Contributors to Making Waves: Mario Aguilera, '89, Rex Graham, Raymond Hardie, Robert Monroe, Neda Oreizy, '08, Doug Ramsey



Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD