Bodies of water all over North America are drying up due to drought, climate change: Experts – ABC News


Bodies of water all over North America are drying up as a result of drought and a decrease in precipitation, experts told ABC News.

Earlier this year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted that the 22-year megadrought affecting the West would not only intensify but also move eastward.

That prediction appears to be coming into fruition, with about 82% of the continental U.S. currently showing conditions between abnormally dry and exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

And while the U.S. and North America continue to witness water levels dropping in crucial rivers, lakes and reservoirs, a mixture of climate change and poor water management policies are causing similar events all over the world, experts told ABC News.

“Rivers all over the world are running really low,” especially the Tigress and Euphrates Rivers in Iraq, as well as significant bodies of water in countries like Italy, Romania, France and China, Jonathan Deason, professor of the Environmental and Energy Management Program at George Washington University.

The experts said that a two-pronged approach that includes climate change mitigation and better water management policies will be crucial as bodies of water continue to dry up. But so much damage has already been done, that even drastic improvements or reductions in emissions will not immediately impact reducing the stress on water levels, they said.

Here are some recent examples of bodies of water drying up in North America:

Shipwreck, human remains found in the Mississippi River

Decreasing water levels along the Mississippi River, one of the most important trade routes in the country, have been causing ripple effects worldwide.

Earlier this month, barges with shipping containers began idling along the sandbars of the river that previously contained ample water.

Waters along the Mississippi have receded so much that a ferry that likely sunk in the late 1800s or early 1900s was discovered near Baton Rouge, earlier this month, and possible human remains were located by a resident in Coahoma County, Missouri, on Saturday.

Much of the region surrounding the Mississippi River is experiencing conditions between abnormally dry and severe drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Great Salt Lake continues to shrink

The Great Salt Lake, the largest saltwater lake in the world and largest terminal lake in the Western Hemisphere — is continuing to lose its volume at alarming rates.

Lack of snow melt to replenish the Platt River

Stunning images out of Nebraska shed light into the harsh reality of the consequences of diminishing amounts of snow pack.

Supplies of drinking water continue to dwindle in the West

As the megadrought in the West persists, the reservoirs providing water to households and the vast agriculture industry are getting dangerously low.

Water supplies along the Colorado River and the two largest reservoirs in the country that it supplies — Lake Mead and Lake Powell — are continuing to recede.

Further west, reservoirs in California as drying up as well, Pablo Ortiz, climate and waters scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told ABC News.

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