Catastrophic Water Events-Ohio and Lake Mead

Water emergencies are happening all over. From the drought in the Colorado River Basin to the algae in the Great Lakes, people are being told to conserve or just not drink the water. Lake Mead waters are at an all time low, Lake Erie is contaminated by a potentially deadly algae. There is speculation all over about what has triggered this algae to multiply. Global warming? Excess pesticide run off? I imagine someone somewhere will link it to fracking or GMOs.

The white “bathtub ring” of mineral deposits marks the decline of Lake Mead, Photo courtesy of US Bureau of Reclamation.

California is in a record drought, affecting over forty million people in San Diego, Tuscon, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Pheonix. Lake Mead, the largest man made lake in the US is at all time record low levels. This causes a rainbow of safe drinking water problems.

Some 40 million people – including those in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Tucson and San Diego — and 4 million acres of farmland rely on water from the Colorado River Basin, much of it stored in Lake Mead. Lake Mead is currently at its all time low water level. Officials are monitoring how this will impact public safety. There are millions of people who depend upon Lake Mead for water. This is having a huge impact already. Today, the lake holds 9 months of water. At capacity, it can hold over 24 months supply. This means that right now, the communities who depend on Lake Mead for water can expect to run out in nine months! Less than a year, no more water in Lake Mead will devastate the area.



Counties in Ohio and Michigan are reporting higher than safe levels of an algae that will cause illness if ingested. Indiana areas are seeing an increase of Ohio customers, purchasing water. As far east as Howe, Indiana, bottled water is leaving the shelves of many local stores. Many are coming from Michigan and Ohio because this is the closest place they could find that still had water in stock.

Early Saturday morning officials announced that there was a high level of microcystin in the public water supply. These occur when excess nitrogen and phosphorus are present in lakes and streams. All residents should not use the water for drinking or cooking. This is not a boil order, boiling this algae will make it grow. The water is just not safe for human consumption. The U.S. EPA website, states that” microcystins are toxins produced by cyanobacteria — also known as blue-green algae. Cyanobacteria are ubiquitous in surface water when conditions are favorable for growth and formation of algal blooms. Cyanobacteria release toxins upon cell death or lysis. When released, toxins may persist for weeks to months. … While the liver is the primary target of microcystins, it is also a skin, eye and throat irritant.”

Test show that the water has high amounts of microcystin, a cyanotoxin that can cause abnormal liver function, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, numbness or dizziness.  Skin contact with contaminated water can cause irritation or rashes. Anyone who is showing any signs of having had contact with the contaminated water should contact a doctor immediately. You should contact a veterinarian if any pets or livestock show signs of illness.

Just these two events is having a huge impact on safe drinking water for millions of people. Events like these are on the up rise. Everyone should have a quality home water filtration system. Emergency water supplies are vital as well. In nine months, there will be a bigger water problem.




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