Lake Mead, the largest reservoir on the Colorado River and a major source of Southern California’s water, is staying above the most recent projections released by the government several weeks ago, KTLA sister station KLAS reports.

According to the US Bureau of Reclamation’s “Most Probable 24-Month Study” published in March, Lake Mead was projected to have dropped to approximately 1,043.06 feet (above sea level). But as of April 3, Lake Mead’s water level is at 1,045.91, almost three feet above the projected level. It’s a positive trend seen in the last three months of projections.

The Colorado River supplies roughly a third of all water for Southern California cities and suburbs, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.

End-of-month projections for Lake Mead

Lake Mead’s elevation is shown as feet above sea level.
Elevation as of April 3: 1,045.92

Source: US Bureau of Reclamation

DATEJAN 2023FEB 2023MAR 2023
MAR 20231040.831042.841043.06
APR 20231035.851038.851036.30
MAY 20231030.531034.561031.53
JUN 20231026.471031.891030.27
JUL 20231026.031032.571031.33
AUG 20231026.871033.301034.15
SEP 20231025.711033.071034.27
OCT 20231025.051032.411033.56
NOV 20231024.471031.451032.40
DEC 20231026.911033.421034.62
JAN 20241029.901036.501037.18
FEB 20241032.111038.751038.96
MAR 20241030.151036.811036.75
APR 20241024.581031.421031.07
MAY 20241018.581025.521024.97
JUN 20241013.711020.711020.33
JUL 20241012.271019.211018.91
AUG 20241012.101018.941019.17
SEP 20241010.381017.181017.68
OCT 20241012.921017.071017.88
NOV 20241014.131015.991016.77
DEC 20241017.571017.581018.52
JAN 20251020.811021.42

As shown in the graphic below, Lake Mead’s water level did rise at the beginning of this year, followed by a small drop. However, partially due to recent rain in the Las Vegas area, the water level stabilized for a few days before rising almost half a foot at the end of March. Since then, the level of the lake has dropped again by about half a foot.

Lake Mead water level as of 9 a.m. Apr. 3, 2023 (Image: — Data: US Bureau of Reclamation)

Upstream, Lake Powell has shown signs of rebounding and has risen more than a foot over the last month after dropping to a new all-time low in mid-March. Many people are speculating the Bureau of Reclamation will allow Lake Powell to benefit from the melting snowpack in Colorado before Lake Mead.

Lake Powell water level as of 12 a.m. Apr. 2, 2023 (Image: — Data: US Bureau of Reclamation)

As of one week ago, snowpack has built the Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) stored in the Colorado Rockies to 158% of the average. That was up about 8% in just one week.

(U.S. Bureau of Reclamation)

Currently, Lake Mead is a little over five feet higher than the record-low hit on Jul. 27, 2022, when the water level was measured at 1,040.71. According to the latest projection from the Bureau of Reclamation, published before the recent rain, Lake Mead could drop to 1,036.9 feet by the end of April, just over nine feet lower than its current level.