Lake levels hit historic low and could fall even lower during summer. PHOTO: Washington Post
The Colorado River reservoir, Lake Mead, has seen its water levels drop to a historic low due the the drought conditions in the area, and the water managers are predicting the levels will fall even lower, according to an article on the Washington Post.
The water level at the lake is controlled by the Hoover Dam, constructed in 1936, and the latest measurement is the lowest since the dam was built, currently at 1,074.68 feet above sea level.
Rose Davis, a spokesperson for the US Bureau of Reclamation, announced the passing of the record low point of June 25, 2015, and added, “we expect the lake to continue to drop to levels near 1,070 feet by the end of June. However, they are expected to be back by Dec. 31 above the levels that would trigger a shortage declaration in 2017.”
The reservoir provides water to the city of Las Vegas, with its two million residents and as many as 40 million visitors and tourists each year. The lake’s high-water capacity is 1,225 feet above sea level, and it would be a the “dead pool” mark, should the water level drop to 900 feet. At that point, no water would flow from the dam to the residents below.
The reservoir is closely monitored and measured by the Bureau of Reclamation, and the agency says it expects the levels to drop another few feet by the end of next month. Officials will then allow the lake to re-fill to the necessary levels to continue to provide water sources to the farms and businesses in the states of Nevada, Arizona and California.
Davis continued by saying the lake is currently about 37 percent of its capacity, and has a white mineral “bathtub ring” around the lake that indicates the levels have dropped about 130 feet since 2000. The last time the lake was filled to capacity was in 1983.
Officials say they are in negotiations with the states along the Colorado River to divert some of the water to keeping the lake at the crucial level.