Will A Colorado River Drought Dry Up Energy Supplies?

12:09 minutes

a lake with mountains surrounding it, with a consistent ring of whiter rock above the lake where the water line used to be
Record low water level at Lake Mead, a key reservoir along the Colorado River. Credit: Shutterstock

This week, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, a federal agency that manages water in the Western U.S., started the process of cutting water use allotments along the Colorado River after seven states missed a deadline for coming up with their own reduction plan. 

The area has been under a long-running drought—and with water in demand for everything from drinking to agriculture to industry, and with the population of the area on the rise, agreements over water use are difficult to come by. The drought may have another less obvious effect on the area as well—drops in water allocation could lead to declines in power production in a region that relies on several major hydroelectric facilities. 

Umair Irfan, staff writer at Vox, joins Ira to talk about the plan for distributing western water and other stories from  the week in science— including a possible reprieve for nuclear power plants in Germany and California, a geomagnetic storm sparking an astronomical light show, orders for future supersonic aircraft, and investigations into why thinking hard makes you physically tired

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Segment Guests

Umair Irfan

Umair Irfan is a senior correspondent at Vox, based in Washington, D.C.

Segment Transcript

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