Lake Mead Water Levels Rise: A Short-Term Solution to a Long-Term Problem

Lake Mead Water Levels Rise: A Short-Term Solution to a Long-Term Problem

Lake Mead's water levels have risen slightly as the record snowpack in the southwest continues to melt. As of June 5, the Colorado River reservoir in Nevada stood at 1,054.42 feet.

The lake has risen sharply since the end of April when the Bureau of Reclamation released a vast amount of water from Lake Powell.

The water ran through the Grand Canyon and eventually into Lake Mead, replenishing sandbars and beaches.

At the end of April, Lake Mead's water levels stood at 1,047 feet. The reservoir's water levels are now slightly higher than they were this time last year.

On June 1, 2022, water levels stood at 1,047.54. From then on, the lake continued to dry up. It then reached its lowest point ever since it was first constructed in the 1930s, at 1,040 feet.

However, despite this year's welcome relief for the drought-stricken reservoirs, water shortages in the Colorado River basin states could still be on the way.

This past winter, Mother Nature provided some relief for the Colorado River with bountiful snowpack in the Southern Rocky Mountains.

This summer, as snowmelt finds its way into reservoirs, Lake Powell is expected to rise 65 feet and Lake Mead is expected to rise 10-15 feet.

This significantly reduces the risk that these reservoirs could reach a 'dead pool' status in the near term.

Lake Mead has been drying up in recent years due to the ongoing megadrought gripping the southwestern U.S.

The reservoir provides water for around 25 million people living in the Colorado River basin states.

The fear is that another dry period will cause the lake's water levels to keep plummeting up to alarmingly low levels.

The reservoir, which is formed by the Hoover Dam, also produces hydropower for the surrounding communities.

If the lake reaches 'dead pool', which is around 895 feet, water would not flow past the Dam anymore, meaning these operations would likely cease.

Federal and state governments will need to work with water users to find durable water use reductions.

They also need to find investments in climate resilience to address the long-term risk to the Colorado River water supply.

You can read more on these precious reservoirs, and their conservation by visiting our website.