River Beat: Water Level Update

At the end of the beneficent water year of 1983, Lake Mead, the giant reservoir behind Hoover Dam that manages water for the benefit of Nevada, Arizona and California, held 25.7 million acre feet of water.

At the end of water year 2010, according to the latest forecast, there will be less water than that in Lake Mead and its twin, Lake Powell, combined (25.3 maf).┬áThe forecast calls for Mead to finish September (the end of the “water year”) with 10.2 maf, the lowest storage since the reservoir was first filled in the 1930s. (The end-2010 number is from the latest USBR 24-month study, which came out Wednesday.)

Storage in Lakes Mead and Powell, data courtesy USBR

Storage in Lakes Mead and Powell, data courtesy USBR