The Telegraph published this video item, entitled “How the US heatwave and water crisis is pushing residents, cities and marathon runners to the limit” – below is their description.
The Telegraph’s Io Dodds travels to California, Nevada and Arizona to see how the heatwave and drought in the western US is affecting the residents, cities and infrastructure.
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No visitor can miss the ghostly band of white rock that augurs Lake Mead’s doom. Running all the way around the 759-mile shoreline of America’s most capacious reservoir, it rises from the waterline to an eerily sharp boundary with the deep red canyon walls above. This so-called “bathtub ring” marks exactly how far Lake Mead has fallen from its previous level – and how far the states and cities that depend on it are from disaster.
About 65 per cent of the US is now suffering “extreme” or “exceptional” drought, by some measures its worst in 122 years.
The crisis has been exacerbated this summer by brutal heatwaves, with a massive “heat dome” weather effect smashing local records in Canada, Idaho, Nevada, Utah and beyond. Forecasters say more is on the way this week.
The normally cool states of Oregon and Washington saw highs of 117F (47C)and 118F, more akin to regular summers in Death Valley, a California desert that is home to the hottest ambient temperature reading on Earth.
Scientists are still investigating whether Death Valley itself broke its own record at 130F. Hundreds of people are estimated to have been killed, and thousands put in hospital, as roads tracked, tram and power lines bent, fridges shut down, cities pened cooling shelters and fast food workers collapsed at their stations.
Those conditions could be manageable with enough water, air conditioning and shelter. But the march of mercury also appears to have triggered an unpredictable cycle of ecological damage that is destroying the very resources necessary to adapt to it.
As lake and river surfaces get lower, the water heats up and evaporates more quickly, which is why the state of California recently had to evacuate nearly 17m Chinook salmon downriver to the sea. Utah’s Great Salt Lake, which gives Salt Lake City its name, is a particularly grim case: its bed is rich in natural arsenic, and if too much of it is exposed to the sun and left to dry it could release giant clouds of poisonous dust.
Earlier this month federal officials said there was a “high likelihood” that Lake Mead will be in official shortage in 2022, forcing Arizona, Nevada and Mexico to ration its water. Another Colorado River reservoir, Lake Powell, has a 79pc chance of hitting its minimum safe level to avoid its hydroelectric dam shutting down.
Read more of Io Dodd’s dispatch here: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/
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