Water Levels Set to Rise at Lake Mead

Photo courtesy of: 500px

Photo courtesy of: 500px

Landon Larsen, Journalist

The nearly empty Lake Mead could be seeing water once again. On April 20th officials concluded that because of excessive snowfall runoff the water level will be 33 feet higher than predicted this year. The US Bureau of Reclamation had made this decision after record high snow melt from the rocky mountains into the Colorado River. This changed the plans of the government and now they have plans to store water into Lake Mead as well as Lake Powell, as confirmed by the bureaus study. The government is planning on increasing the amount of water released from Lake Powell this year by 35%.

Photo courtesy of:500px

The original plan was to give 7 million acre feet of water but that was then changed to 9.5 million acre feet of water, an increase of 800 billion gallons of water by the end of the year thanks to the snow melt. After this change the Bureau of Reclamation says that Lake Mead (which is the biggest above ground water reservoir in the country) will go from 23% full to 26% full. 

Senior Ethan Hughes says, “It’s about time that our lake went up instead of going down.” 

Photo Courtesy of: 500px

The Bureau started to notice these changes when the snowfall was 160% of what it was last year, but they did not know that would make the snow melt 177% of normal. In fact it is so much that officials are afraid that it will create floods in certain areas along the river. In addition to the snowmelt from the Rocky Mountains there is also snowmelt coming from the Grand Canyon that will add an additional 2.74 million acre feet of snow according to 8newsnow. In addition to water being added to the lake, less water is also being taken away. Many people will be happy to know that officials are looking into ways to take more water from reservoirs in the ground rather than the lake above the ground. 

Senior Ryan Stevens says, “I didn’t even know that we used water from underneath the ground.”

The next issue is that for over a century now states have been debating who should get what portion of water. Over the past couple decades the majority of the water has been going to California then Nevada and Arizona share the rest. 

Sophomore Cooper Bishop says, “I thought that Nevada had gotten most of the water from the lake.” 

For a long time it has been discussed that California should get less water than Arizona and Nevada, given that it does not house the lake or conserve water as much as the other two. According to NBC news it may finally happen where the three states share the water evenly.