Posted on | December 1, 2010 | 1 Comment
The Nevada water community chatter yesterday was about a new report ranking the Las Vegas economy as one of the worst in the world. It’s the first and hopefully the last time that I will see Las Vegas compared to Barcelona. However, the story that interested me was this one, in Monday’s Las Vegas Sun, about the suicide danger of the new Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge. It’s notable for two reasons. First is the stunning image by Sun staff photographer Sam Morris, who may be the most talented snapper working in the Western press. Second, I was struck by what wasn’t there. Why wasn’t there more concern about who will jump?
Anyone who has visited Las Vegas will know that the hotel room windows don’t open because after fleecing visitors of their life savings, the hospitality industry prefers not to to mop up tourist remains from beside the pool. But what poor schmuck tourist would then have the energy to haul ass out to Boulder? Could the worry be for Reclamation staff? What other response is there to being charged to manage a water supply that is steadily shrinking while the states tapping it (take a bow, California, as chief glutton) refuse to conserve accordingly?
Consider the scene: As the ambulance pulls off, a bunch of dam operators stand around the bloody chalk outline. One says, “He wasn’t going to have 100 feet on his bio.”
As of yesterday, the closing November elevation of Lake Mead has dropped 95.28 feet since 2001.
November 2001: 1,177.22
November 2002: 1,153.30
November 2003: 1,139.48
November 2004: 1,130.13
November 2005: 1,135.27
November 2006: 1,126.63
November 2007: 1,111.22
November 2008: 1,107.33
November 2009: 1,093.52
November 2010: 1,081.94
Click here for federal Bureau of Reclamation records of closing monthly
Lake Mead elevations going back to the Colorado River’s impoundment in 1935.