High good, low bad: Lake Mead in October 2010

Posted on | November 1, 2010 | No Comments

“The advice given to boaters here these days – ‘If you haven’t been to Lake Mead lately, you haven’t been to Lake Mead’ – sounds like a marketing slogan dreamed up to lure return business,” writes Shaun McKinnon in the Arizona Republic. “Except in this case the advice is true. The drought on the Colorado River has reshaped the huge reservoir so dramatically in the past 11 years that it bears little resemblance to the lake captured in snapshots just a few years ago. Water levels have dropped 133 feet. Islands have emerged and grown. Rocky outcroppings push through the surface, creating watery obstacle courses whose paths shift almost daily.”

Click here to keep reading or here for hourly elevation reports from the US Bureau of Reclamation. Lake Mead closed October at 1,082.35, less than 10 feet of the point where shortages will be announced for Arizona and Nevada.

This editorial should have run in a Western paper. Instead it appeared in the New York Times on October 31st: “Last month, Ken Salazar, the secretary of the interior, committed $1.5 million to establish a study group focusing on the Colorado River basin … Since 1922, [the Colorado River’s] water has been allocated among seven Western states under a legal compact. The amount each state can draw from the river is based on water levels measured in 1922, after several wet years. There is a big gap between the amount of water flowing then — about 16.4 million acre-feet per year — and the actual flow in normal years … ” Click here to keep reading.

2010: 1,082.35

2009: 1,093.26

2008: 1,107.94

2007: 1,110.95

2006: 1,126.13

2005: 1,137.01

2004: 1,127.43

2003: 1,141.17

2002: 1,154.89

2001: 1,178.03

Click here for historical elevations going back to the Lake’s impoundment.


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