Sunday, March 24, 2013

Wait, How Big Is Tahoe? 29 Years!

You've all heard the statistics about Lake Tahoe. They're on the back of restaurant menus, on calendars, in the wikipedia articles, on the travel websites. Length (22 miles), width (12 miles), depth (1635 feet), total water volume (150 cubic kilometers).
Tahoe From Space

Okay, it's a big lake. But how big is it in terms that we can understand?
Here's a statistic you've never heard.
I decided to run a few numbers. I wanted to know this: If every person on earth drank eight glasses of water a day and they dipped it out of Lake Tahoe, how long would the lake provide everyone on the planet with drinking water? A day? Several days? A few weeks?
We've got a bit over 7 billion people on this planet. That's a number too big to really grasp. Line up 7 billion 5-foot, 6-inch people and they'd stretch around the earth 291 times. Put all of us head to toe and we'd go to the moon 30 times. That's a lot of people. So if we're all drinking our recommended intake from the lake, how long would it last us?
Over 29 years.*
That's a lot of water from one mountain lake.
So the next time you drink a glass of water, invite everyone else on the planet to join you. Let's everybody do it eight times a day for 29 years.
Live large. It's Lake Tahoe.

*For those of you who want to do the math, there are a bit more than 4 eight-ounce glasses in a liter, a thousand liters in a cubic meter, a billion cubic meters in a cubic kilometer, and 150 cubic kilometers in Lake Tahoe. Divide by 7 billion people, then divide by 8 glasses a day, then divide by 365 days in a year, and you get 29 years. That's a lot of water.


  1. I read the Blogspot interview and got your TINY clue to your next book! Thank God we'll be in Tahoe till Aug 5th so we can come to your signing.


    1. Hi Amanda, I'll look forward to seeing you at the South Lake Tahoe Library on July 31st. I'll be giving a talk about my new book at 6:30. See you then!

  2. All winter, I volunteered with the USFS's "Winter Trek". We took a group of 5th graders to the top of Heavenly, and while snowshoeing, we taught them all about Lake Tahoe. I would have loved this fact because I think they would have better grasped the magnitude of the Lake's size with your description. Next year!

    1. I was looking for a "new" statistic about Tahoe that no one had ever heard before. When I came up with the question about how much drinking water there was in the lake, I nearly short-circuited my calculator working out the answer!

      Glad you enjoyed it!