Oct 25, 2010

Lake Mead Reaches Lowest Water Level Since 1937

Southern Nevada Water Authority could face problems if level continues to drop

Lake Mead, the Colorado River reservoir behind Hoover Dam, reached its lowest level since 1937, when the reservoir was first filled, according to a report by KTNV.com. The surface of the lake has fallen nearly 130 ft. since 1999, when a drought affecting the Colorado River and its tributaries began.

Low water levels in Lake Mead could have a major effect on water supplies for the Las Vegas Valley. The Southern Nevada Water Authority draws 90% of the drinking water for the valley from the lake. If water levels drop another 8 ft., the federal government will declare a shortage on the river, and reduce Nevada’s river share by 6%. If the water surface falls another 33 ft. the current level, water intake pipes will begin to shut down.

According to Southern Nevada Water Authority Manager Pat Mulroy, forecasters predict that the next two winters will be dry in the mountains that feed the Colorado River and its tributaries.