(NewsNation Now) — There is much less water lapping at the shores of many lakes and reservoirs these days. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has already asked residents to voluntarily reduce water use by 15%. A push for energy conservation may be next.
Images out of the west make clear it is not a normal year, and what little water is left is evaporating faster due to heat.
“In normal years, California gets about 50% of its electricity from hydroelectric power,” said Jay Lund, co-director of the UC Davis Center for Watershed Services. “We might get half of that amount this year just because it’s been so dry.”
California’s Lake Oroville is at just 27% capacity. The Department of Water Resources may soon shut down the hydroelectric power plant there for the first time ever.
The same may happen soon to the south, due to a very depleted Lake Mead in Nevada and not nearly enough water at the Hoover Dam.
The situation could eventually impact the power supply for about 25-million people in Arizona, Nevada and southern California, but there is no talk of energy conservation yet.
In Utah, Great Salt Lake is at a historic low, and the small town of Echo has literally run dry. Water has to be purchased and trucked in.
“The whole town is policing each other on using and drinking water for watering their lawns,” said Echo resident Kim Boss.
Drought has even impacted the cattle industry in South Dakota.
“We are just going to have to end up getting rid of some cows because of this drought, the grass is too short, and it’s crispy, when you walk across the grass it breaks,” said South Dakota resident Zay Norman.
The possible shutdown of hydroelectric power plants would require energy to be shifted from elsewhere within the grid, which could mean more flex alerts and calls for energy and water conservation in the months ahead.
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