WeatherTalk: Lake Mead drops to a record low level this week
If Lake Mead falls another 150 feet, water will not be able to flow beyond the dam.
FARGO — Lake Mead, a reservoir on the Colorado River behind the massive Hoover Dam, dropped to 1,044 feet this week, which is the lowest level since the 1930s. This is 181 feet lower than its record high level in 1983. Hoover Dam, a Bureau of Reclamation project, was the largest concrete structure on Earth when it was built from 1931 to 1936. Lake Mead and its upstream version, Lake Powell, were designed for flood control, hydroelectric power, and to divert water to cities across the Southwest; notably, Las Vegas.
Two decades of a progressive drought threatens the viability of all of this. If Lake Mead falls another 150 feet, water will not be able to flow beyond the dam, which would create serious water shortages for Phoenix, Los Angeles, and irrigated agriculture throughout the region, and create a need for an alternative electricity source for Las Vegas.