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VP Kamala Harris heads to rapidly draining Lake Mead

PBS NewsHour/YouTube

Plans to make the case for President Biden's climate priorities

LAKE MEAD, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY/CNN) - Making the cross-country trip Monday, Vice President Kamala Harris plans to collect supporting evidence for congress to fund President Joe Biden's sweeping economic agenda.

Water shortages are no secret in the drought-stricken West. Currently, America's largest reservoir Lake Mead is one of many whose resources are dwindling at an increasing rate.

The U.S. Department of the Interior officials confirm plans to give Vice President Harris a briefing on the Colorado River reservoir when she arrives. Additionally, they will be joined by U.S. Reps. Dina Titus, Susie Lee and Steven Horsford (all Democrats from Nevada).

According to CNN, a white house official clarifies that Vice President Harris' remarks should "emphasize that water shortages have a ripple effect on our farmers, food supply and economy -- and that climate change will continue to make extreme weather including droughts and heat more frequent, costly and harmful."

Lake Mead and its "upstream sister" Lake Powell continue to drain at alarming rates.

For the first time ever, the federal government declared a water shortage on the Colorado River in August. This declaration triggered mandatory water consumption cuts for southwestern states.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation also announced in September that there's now a 3% chance Lake Powell could drop below the minimum level needed to allow the lake's Glen Canyon Dam to generate hydroelectricity next year.

Bureau representatives reveal that the chances of shutdown jump up to 34% in 2023.

A study published in the journal Science in 2020 found that from 2000-2018 was the driest 19-year stretch since the late 1500s.

Last but not least, a study published in September by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's drought task force concluded that our current drought climate is designated as exceptional -- the most severe level of drought -- compared to both paleoclimate and historical records.

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