Sunday, November 7, 2010

Everything old is new again

So I finally got around to reading "Water and the West" by Norris Hundley, Jr. (yeah I'm a little behind the curve on some things) and came across this passage in the section discussing the 1944 treaty with Mexico and a report by the Bureau of Reclamation about that same time describing their most recent estimations of flows on the Colorado:
Even so, calculations revealed that during a future drought, there would be a shortage.  Though the shortage could be temporarily met by extra releases from Hoover Dam storage, the drawdown on the reservoir result in power losses; and if the drought lasted more than thirteen years, the reservoir would be exhausted.
This was reported in hearings on the treaty in the Senate in 1945.  Just in case anyone thought that awareness of the likelihood of shortages on the lower river was a more recent phenomenon.  Additionally, this is reported in a book that was written in the 1970s.  1945 was still a few years before the construction of Glen Canyon Dam, which certainly changed the projections for reservoir exhaustion at Mead, but the possibility remains frighteningly real.

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