With the water levels at the country’s largest reservoir dropping to an all-time low, officials are preparing for the effect it could have on the region’s water supply. Cradled between Arizona and Nevada, Lake Mead has the potential to hold an impressive amount of water, which is why it is graced with the title of the largest reservoir in the country in terms of water capacity — but this is only when it is full. Its present state, unfortunately, only reflects a puddle of its full potential.
As of June 14, the reservoir held almost 9 million acre-feet of water, which is only about 36 percent of its full capacity. This follows a 22-year historic drought that the region has been experiencing. The Colorado River system provides water to millions of people, with the water belonging to the 7 basin states, along with Mexico.
A large region of Utah, Arizona, and Nevada is at present experiencing an exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. This last measurable precipitation in the Lake Mead area was on May 16 – that, however, only amounted to 0.01 of an inch of rainfall. The region last received a substantial amount of rainfall a few months back.
Looking ahead, weather forecasters have predicted that it is likely that the region will remain dry throughout the month and in early July as well. So far in June, there hasn’t really been any measurable rain.
A public affairs officer at the Bureau of Reclamation said it will likely take between three and four years of above-normal snowpack in the Rockies to refill Lake Powell and Lake Mead. The Rockies’ snowpack provides nearly 90 percent of Colorado’s water supply, and feeds both Lake Powell and Mead – the former at present holds almost 34 percent of its maximum capacity.