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
|DATE||JAN 2023||FEB 2023||MAR 2023|
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.
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.
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.
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.