By the end of the year, the water level at Lake Mead is expected to be almost 20 feet higher than it was in January.
Future releases from Lake Powell to Lake Mead are expected to raise the lake another six feet, the Bureau of Reclamation forecast this week.
Just a few months ago, the lake, which is fed by the Colorado River, was only about 100 feet above what's called "dead pool" status, according to hydrologist David Kreamer at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
"If the lake goes down to a dead pool level, about 950 feet above sea level, no more water can go through Hoover Dam and go downstream to California, to the crops and the fields that are located there. And that would be a pretty tremendous impact, not only for the Southwest, but for the entire United States," Kreamer said in February.
Now Lake Mead, located near Las Vegas, is expected to be at 1,065 feet by the end of the year, compared with 1,047 feet in January.
As of June 2023, the lake was at 1,056 feet, according to Bureau of Reclamation data.
Ben Burr, executive director of the Blue Ribbon Coalition, an organization dedicated to recreation and public lands, says this is good news.
"Everyone who is recreating at Lake Mead this year is having a far better year this year than last year," Burr told Channel 13. "A lot of the facilities are open now that were struggling to be accessible last year, and it's a blessing to have this much water."
Burr says while this is positive news, the lake is still low and conservation efforts need to continue. He says this buys the feds more time to come up with a plan for future conservation.
Colorado River water conservation has been a focal point in environmental efforts in recent years. A 20-year water shortage plan for the river was put into place in 2007, and recently, new plans have been in talks.
This story was originally published by Joe Moeller for Scripps News Las Vegas.
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