A drying climate in the American Southwest could lead to hydroelectric power shortages as lakes empty.
Impact of a Dry Climate on Energy and Agriculture
As the country’s two largest lakes – Lake Mead and Lake Powell – empty out from the effects of climate change on the region’s precipitation patterns, loss of power from hydroelectric plants associated with the lakes could become a significant issue for the region. The river water that supplies the lakes is also used for irrigation of farmlands in the region. Farmers are already facing cuts to their water allocations.
The problem isn’t unique to the United States. Countries around the world are facing similar impacts as detailed in Drought in Numbers, a new report released by United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.
From the report:
- Since 1970 weather, climate and water hazards have accounted for 50 per cent of all disasters and impact 55 million people globally every year
- 2.3 billion people face water stress annually
- Drought is also one of several factors that impacts land degradation, with between 20 and 40 per cent of the world’s land being classed as degraded, affecting half the world’s population and impacting croplands, drylands, wetlands, forests and grasslands.
The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration is running concurrently with completion of the Sustainable Development Goals. It remains to be seen whether that 10-yr goal will be met.