#LakeMead projected to match lowest water level in history this week — The #LasVegas Review-Journal #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

US Drought Monitor map June 1, 2021.

From The Las Vegas Review-Journal (Blake Apgar):

Lake Mead’s water level this week is projected to match its lowest point since the reservoir was formed in the 1930s, federal officials said Tuesday.

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation spokeswoman Patti Aaron said projections show Lake Mead’s water level reaching an elevation of 1,071.61 feet on Thursday, matching the record low set on July 1, 2016.

And the lake level decline isn’t projected to stop there.

“We expect it to keep declining until November,” Aaron said.
Lake Mead is barreling toward its first federally declared water shortage, a product of a decades-long drought that has left the Colorado River parched. About 90 percent of Southern Nevada’s water comes from Lake Mead…

Under a shortage, Nevada would have its annual 300,000 acre-foot allocation of water from the river slashed by 13,000 feet. That reduction would come in addition to an 8,000 acre-foot contribution Nevada agreed to in 2019 in the event Lake Mead’s water level dropped below 1,090 feet, as it has…

This year, the Colorado River Basin is projected to experience its second-driest year in more than a century of record keeping. The driest year on record was 2002…

The declining lake level has also reduced the Hoover Dam’s power generation capacity.
According to the Bureau of Reclamation, the dam’s power plant is capable of producing about 2,080 megawatts. Aaron said the current capacity is 1,567 megawatts, enough to power about 350,000 homes…

Each foot in elevation that the lake level decreases, Aaron said, the dam loses about 6 megawatts of capacity. The lowest water level that allows the dam to continue generating power is 950 feet.

“But we are not in danger of hitting that point,” Aaron said…

Even if the state’s allocation is cut, Southern Nevada wouldn’t immediately feel the squeeze. Last year, the region used 256,000 acre feet, and the Southern Nevada Water Authority has about eight years worth of water at that rate of usage stored in Arizona, California, Lake Mead and Las Vegas’ local aquifer.

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