WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris stood before the record-low water levels of Nevada’s Lake Mead on Monday and made the case for the Biden administration’s climate change agenda by warning that “this is where we’re headed.”
“Look at where the water has receded over just the last 20 years,” she said, referring to the “bathtub ring” of minerals that marks where the reservoir's water line previously stood. “That space is larger than the height of the Statue of Liberty."
The vice president pitched the administration's infrastructure and social safety net agenda as critical to tackling the effects of climate change — which scientists say intensify extreme weather events such as heatwaves and droughts.
Democrats have struggled to win support for that plan from some members of their party, who want to winnow down its $3.5 trillion price tag.
Harris made the case for the package by connecting human-caused climate change to the scene she stood near, saying emissions are "part of what is contributing to these drought conditions.”
“The bipartisan infrastructure deal — combined with the ‘Build Back Better’ agenda is about what we need to do to invest in things like water recycling and reuse, what we can do in terms of water desalination, what we can do in terms of implementation of drought contingency plans,” Harris said.
Water levels at Lake Mead — created in the 1930s by the damming of the Colorado River — have fallen to record lows. Federal officials in August declared the first-ever water shortage in the Colorado River, which means Arizona, Nevada and Mexico will receive less water than normal next year amid a gripping Western drought.
In September, Reclamation released projections showing