#LakeMead forecast continues to brighten as water cuts are modeled — The Las Vegas Review-Journal #DCP #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

Lake Mead, behind Hoover Dam, shows the effects of nearly two decades of drought. (Image: Bureau of Reclamation)

From The Las Vegas Review Journal (Henry Brean):

The outlook for Lake Mead continues to improve, as federal forecasters factor in the benefits from an unusually wet winter and a new interstate drought deal that will leave more water in the reservoir.

Instead of the familiar declines of recent decades, the lake east of Las Vegas now is expected to finish the year slightly higher than it is now, according to the latest estimates from the Bureau of Reclamation.

The projected water level of almost 1,086 feet above sea level by the end of December is about a foot higher than hydrologists were predicting a month ago.

Almost all of that difference can be traced to the extra water the reservoir will store as a result of the Drought Contingency Plans signed by the seven Colorado River states during a ceremony at Hoover Dam last month…

Bureau of Reclamation spokesman Doug Hendrix said this marks the first time the new voluntary drought cuts have been factored into the bureau’s running, two-year forecast for the Colorado…

The bureau now expects the river to swell with about 144 percent of its average flow through July, as all that snow melts and runs downstream into Lake Powell, the reservoir on the Utah-Arizona border formed by Glen Canyon Dam. That would make this the second wettest year — and just the fifth with above-average river flows — since the current drought began in 2000.

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