Topic: Lakes

Keyword: Lake Mead


Lake Mead water levels improve slightly

Excerpt: The federal Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) recently completed its August 2017 24-Month Study, which is part of a study of hydrology and projected operations of the Colorado River system.

Excerpt: This year alone, a combined 465,000 acre-feet left in Lake Mead by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (200,000 acre-feet), the Gila River Indian Community (80,000 acre-feet) and the Central Arizona Project (185,000 acre-feet) have added over five feet to Lake Mead’s water levels.

Excerpt: A late-winter hot-and-dry spell, however, put an end to those giddy expectations.

“Arizona is committed to continuing conservation efforts to bolster the elevations of Lake Mead to avert shortages,” said Buschatzke.

“We are confident that our neighboring states and Mexico will also continue their efforts to conserve water.”

Water Experts Debate Benefits of Draining Lake Powell

Excerpt: An environmental group in Utah wants to drain Lake Powell and move its water downstream to Lake Mead. Supporters say the plan will save water and restore a natural ecosystem in Glen Canyon. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.

Excerpt: "It’s imperative that the Bureau of Reclamation take a serious look at this, not only because of the potential benefits but because not looking at this might put us in a bad position if we get stuck against the wall with an emptying reservoir," Balken says. He says putting all the water in Lake Mead could save 300,000 acre-feet of water a year. That’s because so much water soaks into the porous rock around Lake Powell.

Feds now see Lake Mead levels sinking

Excerpt: The winter snowpack on the western slopes of the Rockies – the source moisture for the Colorado River – is producing much less runoff than had been anticipated.

As a result, the federal Bureau of Reclamation now is predicting that Colorado River releases from Lake Powell into Lake Mead will be far lower than what the Bureau had anticipated in March of this year.

As a result, the federal Bureau of Reclamation now is predicting that Colorado River releases from Lake Powell into Lake Mead will be far lower than what the Bureau had anticipated in March of this year.

Excerpt: The dramatic turn-around in anticipated water flow into Lake Mead is a direct result of disappointing expectations for water flow into Lake Powell upstream. Powell’s diminished inflows are due to a dry early spring and consistently warmer-than-average temperatures in the Rocky Mountain region through the spring.

Excerpt: The Bureau of Reclamation’s data analysis indicate that on January 1, 2018 – the period during which heavy Lake Powell releases were expected to give Colorado River water officials a “breather” – Lake Mead’s water level likely will be at just 1,080.49 feet, barely more than five feet above the shortage trigger of 1,075 feet.

The primary driver of those lower lake levels is the diminishing amount of water to be released from Lake Powell – down from an anticipated “equalization release” of 10.8 million acre-feet during Water Year 2018, as reported in May, to a “balancing release” of just 9.0 million acre-feet, as reported by the Bureau in June.

War of words flares in Arizona over Lake Mead

Excerpt: Officials in Arizona have reached an impasse on a multistate agreement aimed at storing more Colorado River water in Lake Mead, but Southern Nevada Water Authority chief John Entsminger said he is confident the deal will still get done.

Excerpt: Board members Alexandra Arboleda and Mark Taylor from the Central Arizona Water Conservation District got things started on April 21, when they floated an alternate plan in the state’s largest newspaper to artificially keep Lake Mead just above the trigger point for a shortage, a move they said would force the release of more water from Lake Powell upstream while lessening the need for water reductions in Arizona.

Excerpt: The Colorado supplies water and power to 30 million people in seven Western states and irrigates $1.5 billion of crops a year. The Las Vegas Valley draws 90 percent of its drinking water from the Colorado by way of Lake Mead, which has seen its surface drop by roughly 130 feet since drought descended on the river in 2000.

Fill Mead First

Excerpt: Whether we are talking about draining all of its water or just most of it, reducing Lake Powell to a secondary status behind Lake Mead would fail in two of the plan’s most important goals, according to a technical assessment released last fall by Utah State University researchers.

Excerpt: The Fill Mead First proposal would have little effect in its initial phases on the amount of fine-grain sediment released into the Colorado River below Glen Canyon Dam. The plan’s final phase, on the other hand, would “cause significant ecosystem adjustments associated with the sudden change from relatively clear water to a very turbid river.”

Wet winter may help Colorado River push off problems

Excerpt: Drought conditions have declined substantially across the region in recent weeks, with heavy storms replenishing reservoirs and piling fresh powder on ski resorts.

Excerpt: Under federal guidelines that kick in when water flows reach certain volumes, the Bureau of Reclamation, which oversees the river basin’s largest reservoirs, Lake Powell and Lake Mead, could release enough water from the former to raise the elevation of the latter by 20 feet or more — providing a remarkable shot in the arm for a lake that has been declining steadily during a devastating drought that started in 2000.

Excerpt: That all means that delicate negotiations that have been underway to get the seven states which use the water — Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming — to increase the amount of water they conserve are still crucial.

Early snowpack Forecasts

Excerpt: Snow is piling up in the Rockies and Sierra Nevada, but this year’s first official water forecast for the Colorado River still predicts Lake Mead will shrink enough to trigger a federal shortage declaration in 2018.

Excerpt: Nevada, California and Arizona are closing in on a drought contingency plan, under which the states would voluntarily reduce their use of Colorado River water to prop up the reservoir. Arizona and Nevada would bear the brunt of the cuts early on, but California would also accept reductions to its share of the river for the first time under the deal.

Excerpt: Entsminger said he’s optimistic that the deals will get done sometime this year.

Arizona seeks ways to prop up Lake Mead

Excerpt: Arizona is closing in on a set of water conservation deals that leaders hope will prop up storage in Lake Mead, and forestall painful and chaotic shortages for at least a few years.

Excerpt: A deep winter snowpack like what's begun building in the Rocky Mountains this year could delay the cuts, but experts agree the system is essentially overdrawn and bold action is necessary soon regardless of weather.

Excerpt: Ultimately the fear is that a worsening shortage could drop the reservoir below 1,025 feet. That's below the elevations where states have agreed on the consequences, and it would invite radical and unpredictable rationing from the U.S. Interior Department.

Fill Mead First plan

Excerpt: Utah State University scientists urge caution in implementing the widely publicized Fill Mead First plan aimed at restoring the canyon. The massive plan calls for partially or completely draining Lake Powell, the reservoir formed by the dam, and collecting the water downstream in Lake Mead, the reservoir formed by Hoover Dam.

Excerpt: He and colleagues found evaporation losses at Lake Mead are measured by the U.S. Geological Survey in a state-of-the-science program, but there have been no efforts to measure evaporation at Lake Powell since the mid-1970s. No studies have been conducted since the mid-1980s estimating how much reservoir water moves into the bedrock that surrounds Lake Powell. Using the most-recent data, USU researchers showed evaporation losses would be slightly less if the proposed plan was implemented, but the uncertainty in this prediction is large.

Colorado River Indian Tribes Sign Water Deal

Excerpt: A deal between a coalition of tribes and the Lower Colorado Region of the Bureau of Reclamation aims to address concerns over drought and water levels in the nation’s largest reservoir. The deal is also an economic boost for the tribes.

Excerpt: "The State of Arizona is in great need of water," CRIT Tribal chairman Dennis Patch said. "If we're able to fix our system and allow us to irrigate what lands we have now and with the conservation methods..that will give us more water to make a water deal to help the state and overall the region."

Water shortage is averted

Excerpt: But there will be no water shortage in the lower Colorado River, at least not officially. The federal government projects there will be enough Colorado River water available for states to take their full share.

Excerpt: Lake Havasu City residents have a front-row seat to the river’s use but are oddly distanced from the initial consequences of a shortage. The city is currently using only about half of its river water allocations. In fact, thanks to conservation, the lower Colorado River regional states actually used less than the full allocation last year.

Excerpt: Water diversions from historically wet areas of the country will probably play a big role in the future of the region and water officials would do well to make plans for those now rather than when the Southwest’s water needs become urgent.

Lake Mead to skirt shortage line

Excerpt: Despite sinking to a record low in early July, Lake Mead should be just full enough on Jan. 1 to avoid an unprecedented federal shortage declaration for at least one more year.

Excerpt: Decisive projections released Tuesday by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation call for the reservoir east of Las Vegas to start 2017 with a surface elevation of about 1,079 feet above sea level. That’s roughly 4 feet above the line that would force Nevada and Arizona to cut their Colorado River water use.

Excerpt: Water officials in Nevada, Arizona and California hope to further delay the first official shortage on the Colorado through a series of voluntary cuts now being discussed.

By the end of the year, the three states hope to finalize a landmark deal under which Arizona would shoulder the largest cuts and California would accept reductions to its river use for the first time.

Lake Mead at planned historic low

Excerpt: The surface level at Lake Mead has dropped as planned to historic low levels, and federal water managers said Thursday the vast Colorado River reservoir is expected to continue to shrink amid ongoing drought.

Excerpt: The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation plans to let it drop another few feet by the end of next month. Then, it will be refilled enough by the end of the year to pass a crucial water-level mark to avoid cuts in water deliveries to residents, farms, tribes and businesses in Arizona, Nevada and California.

Excerpt: Lake Mead's high-water capacity is 1,225 feet above sea level. It reaches so-called "dead pool" at just under 900 feet, meaning nothing would flow downstream from Hoover Dam.

Record-Low Lake Mead

Excerpt: the area has been in a drought for most of the last 15 years, she has seen the water creep away, with a chalky ring on the lake’s rocky edges marking the heights it once reached. The longtime home of the marina has mostly dried up, forcing a move several years ago to a site 12 miles away. And on a recent morning, crews went to work on the elaborate process, requiring weeks of preparation and costing over $100,000, to ease the marina — with its boat slips, shop and offices — farther out into water.

Excerpt: When it is full, the reservoir, a few dozen miles from the Las Vegas Strip, reaches an elevation of more than 1,220 feet. But last week, Lake Mead broke records, falling to about 1,079 feet, lows not seen since the lake was created in the 1930s. At the moment, the lake is at only 38 percent of its capacity, and officials warn that the water level will continue to fall throughout the summer, with projections showing an estimated elevation of 1,073 feet by September.

Excerpt: “They have practically allocated every single drop, and for many years they had over-allocated,” said Sajjad Ahmad, who is also a civil and environmental engineering professor at U.N.L.V. “We are operating on the edge. That we know.”

Excerpt: Ms. Kaiser’s fears are less about the falling water level and directed more at the attention paid to it. She remembered the last time stories of record-breaking lows spread just before the relief of an exceptionally wet year in 2011, and what that meant for her business.

“We take phone calls from all over the world from people that think Lake Mead is a mud hole,” she said. “They call and want to cancel their reservation because they heard there’s no water there.”

But the lake, which draws close to seven million tourists a year, is still a blue expanse amid the desert, covering about 242,000 acres and in places plunging nearly 300 feet deep.