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Lake Mead Water Problem Solved

Author Barry Cameron Lindemann

Senate Candidate Nevada - Barry Cameron Lindemann

Stranded marina boat dock on the ground

Lake Mead marina boat dock 2022 high and dry

Lake Mead draining away from its surroundings

Lake Mead draining away from its surroundings

Nevada US Senate Candidate, Barry Cameron Lindemann, proposes the solution to refill Lake Mead and solve the Colorado River water problem. seems that current water restrictions could have been worse save for some fuzzy math about where thousands of acre feet of water reside, if it exists at all.”
— Barry Cameron Lindemann
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, UNITED STATES, September 17, 2022 / -- No disappearing act has ever been slower than the 20-year gradual ebbing of water levels in Lake Mead, Nevada. As people begin handwringing about climate change and receding water in the reservoir, and they should, they are missing what the real problem is with the lake’s slow death.

On June 14, 2022, a Senate committee meeting was held to discuss solutions for Drought in the West. The breadth of the title had little to do with the West as the meeting singularly focused on the utilization of water within the Upper and Lower Colorado Basin.

Much like all things government, most in attendance missed the point of the crisis. Various Senators chimed in with thoughts and opinions, but none came close to a solution for equitable water distribution from the Colorado. One attendee, Patrick O’Toole from the Family Farm Alliance, said it best when he remarked that government has been aware of this problem and done nothing for 20 years. In that simple comment about government inaction, which everyone heard, I then couldn't later reconcile in my head why the committee adjourned merely asking for more data and more information. At their fingertips they have 20 years of information and data.

The Bureau of Reclamation, whose representative is Camille Touton, profusely thanked the Senators for 8.3 billion in funding, claimed she had the authority to “act” unilaterally, and then said that she could only act and detail her authority in conjunction with the participating states. Senator Mark Kelly asked Ms. Touton for assurances that the Upper Basin states will make cutbacks so the people of Arizona wouldn’t have to suffer larger constraints. Her reply was that she was encouraged by the Upper Basin dialog, but two months later, Arizona got hit with more cutbacks as Tier 2 restrictions were implemented. So again, government did nothing.

It’s the management of the whole river system that needs to be rethought. It’s the understanding that each player in the river system will ferociously protect its interest. Past discussions and action have yielded little and no doubt the blame can go all around, but the fact is that Lake Mead is at 27% capacity and Lake Powell is no better. Add to this an observation from writer Joanna Allhands of "The Arizona Republic" and it seems that current water restrictions could have been worse save for some fuzzy math about where thousands of acre feet of water reside, if it exists at all. It is time for government to forcefully enter.

The use of government in our lives should be sparse, but this time it is robustly warranted. Since it currently appears the Bureau of Reclamation is floundering with indecision, then below is a framework for restoring the water in Lake Mead, Lake Powell, and the Flaming Gorge Reservoir.

First, allow Patrick O’Toole in Wyoming to revive his forest water shed through appropriate environmental administration. He states that he is hampered by government reluctance which appears to stem from hyper-environmentalism. We will never know if his plan will work unless he employs it. So, allow him to tend to his environment the best way he knows how. He intends to produce annually an additional 144,000-acre feet of water to the Flaming Gorge Reservoir by smart forestry management.

Second, build desalination plants in Mexico’s Sea of California. Because Huntington Beach, California declined to take reasonable measures to produce water for its population, we can utilize those dollars to build desalination plants to pipe water to the Mexican towns and farms along the border. We need to pump water to these towns and farms as Lake Mead will be holding back the complete water allotment given to Mexico. It is runoff to Mexico that will fill Lake Mead and Lake Powell.

Third, cutback California more. California needs to practice what it preaches. It needs to be more environmentally responsible when it comes to water and implement water recycling systems which mirrors the efficiency of those in Southern Nevada. If we in the desert can do without, so can California. In addition, Colorado can make larger cuts and Arizona needs to return to Tier 1 cutbacks to lessen the impact on their state.

Fourth, water distribution can no longer be detailed in acre-feet. It must be calculated as a percentage of the annual volume along the river. Drier years will produce smaller water allotments requiring all to make sacrifices with the inverse in wetter years producing more water for all. Water levels in reservoirs would be substantially more stable if we were not draining them due to water storage deals between participants.

What that meeting back in June should have been about is grit, determination, and leadership in the face of imminent thirst. Someone should have had the guts to understand that action was needed, not more info and data. Singularly, our political leaders failed us. Let’s not allow that to happen again. Change them this November.
Barry Cameron Lindemann
US Senate Candidate 2022

Barry Lindemann
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