Bonus water for Lake Mead, with the chance for more next year

Dan Elliott has details on yesterday’s USBR announcement of a 9 million acre foot release from Lake Mead:

The Bureau of Reclamation, which manages dams and reservoirs on the Colorado River, said it will release 9 million acre-feet from Lake Powell, sending it down the Colorado into Lake Mead, where it will be tapped by Arizona, California and Nevada.

That is well above the minimum kinda sorta required release of 8.23 million acre feet (lawyers from Upper and Lower Basin please argue in the comments about this, thanks). Combined with conservation efforts among users in Arizona, California, and Nevada, this means that Lake Mead will end the year at least 5 feet above last year, and maybe as much as 7.


  1. Ummm…I’m not a lawyer, but…

    End the year 5-7 feet above, or end the Water Year 5-7 feet above? I have still heard concern expressed that once the lower basin states really start pumping in summer/late summer, we could conceivably be right back where we were. This reinforces the urgent need for the DCP and DCP+ agreements to get inked and implimented (which many people are working hard towards, for sure.)

  2. Sinjin –

    The same for water year and calendar year. I went back through the Bureau’s April forecast the last few years, and they’ve been quite good, if anything conservative (which is to say water use lower than projected, therefore Mead higher). Agreed that DCP etc. are super important, important to not let up, but projected Lower Basin use this year *is* the lowest it’s been in a long time.

  3. As you posted yesterday the 85% release level from the state water project means that the eastern end of the Ca aqueduct which comes close to the Colorado river aqueduct won’t need as much Colorado river water. This is basically the Inland Empire.

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