Last Updated on 01/17/2019
|09/23/2015 Trip Notes: My friend Jim Herring, Connie and I took a trip out to Lake Mead for a picnic lunch at the 33-Hole Overlook (Figs. 01-03). Even though a little overcast, it was very hot and so windy, it was trying to blow our lunch off of the picnic table. I’ve certainly had better days out here. Jim and I tried to hike down to the water’s edge, but before reaching it we decided it was too hot to be out here hiking. Most impressive was how low the water line was as compared to my first visit here more than 10 years ago. The exposed landscape is quickly becoming a surreal landscape turning into more and more desert with every passing day.|
As a result of the roughly 15-year drought, today's water level is at 1,079-feet, down another 40 feet from just two years ago and more than 135 feet from the 2000 level of 1214-feet. At the present time, lake Mead is only at 38% full and hasn't been this low since they were filling it in the 1930s. Every day it is drawing closer to the 1,075-foot level, below which officials would declare a water emergency and begin rationing water allotments to Nevada and Arizona. The more the water level drops, the greater the chances that Hoover Dam's hydroelectric output might be seriously affected. Federal forecasters originally predicted that the Colorado River would flow at 71% capacity this summer, but they now say the figure could fall to 50% or lower. This summer, officials will make their projection for Lake Mead water in January 2016. If the estimate is below 1,075 feet, rationing kicks in: Southern Nevada would lose 13,000 acre-feet per year and Arizona would lose 320,000 acre-feet. California's portion would not be affected. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials say there is a 21% chance of Lake Mead plunging below 1,075 feet by January. The odds increase to 54% for 2017.