Tag Archives: drought

Lake Mead Water Level Reaches All-Time Low

This 2008 photo of Lake Mead clearly shows the white "bathtub ring" around the lake. Water levels have dropped even further since then. | Courtesy of Lake Mead National Recreation Area

This 2008 photo of Lake Mead clearly shows the white “bathtub ring” around the lake. Water levels have dropped even further since then. | Courtesy of Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Lake Mead’s water level has dropped to an all-time low, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced last week, citing ongoing drought in the Southwest as the cause of the decline.

The lake, formed by Hoover Dam on the Arizona-Nevada border, is currently more than 200 feet below its “full” level of 1,296 feet above sea level. Lake Mead last reached that level in 1998, and the subsequent drought has left a large white “bathtub ring” around the water line.

If the water level drops much further, it could trigger a shortage declaration, which would mean less water would be delivered to the areas the lake serves, including Phoenix and Las Vegas. That isn’t expected to happen this year or in 2015, but the bureau said there’s a 50-50 chance of it happening in 2016.

Lake Mead is currently at 39 percent of its water capacity. Lake Powell, on the Arizona-Utah border, is at 52 percent capacity.

Despite the drought, we hope you’ll continue to enjoy Lake Mead National Recreation Area‘s boating, fishing and hiking opportunities. As we reported earlier this month, a portion of the Colorado River there recently became the first National Water Trail in the Southwest.

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Filed under Eco Issues, Et Cetera, News

New Project Could Help Keep San Pedro River Flowing

James Parks | San Pedro River

James Parks | San Pedro River

As Arizona’s population has increased, so has its water use, which means many of our state’s rivers are in danger of running dry. A new project in Cochise County, though, is aiming to keep one of them flowing.

As Arizona Public Media reports, the county and The Nature Conservancy have joined forces to build a series of retention basins in the land near the San Pedro River. The basins will slow down the flow of rainwater out of the Huachuca Mountains, allowing more of it to seep into the aquifers that feed the river.

The $2.5 million project aims to keep the river flowing even during the dry season. If it’s successful, it’s hoped that the project will spur similar efforts elsewhere in the state.

The Nature Conservancy’s Holly Richter is featured prominently in Arizona Public Media’s story. To learn more about Richter, check out our profile of her, which appeared in our March issue.

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Filed under Eco Issues, Mother Nature, News