High good, low bad: Mead in December 2010

Posted on | January 1, 2011 | No Comments

Early Western roulette wheel. Source: Wikipedia

The good news in the last hour of 2010 was that Lake Mead was 4.36 feet higher than the closing elevation for November. The bad news is that a winter bump is not unusual and, at ten feet lower than the closing December elevation for 2009 and at 40% capacity, the main storage reservoir on the Colorado River is 11.3 feet above a level that will trigger cuts for Arizona and Nevada.

Nerves are bad enough in the Grand Canyon State that the Arizona Republic reported this week that water managers are considering leaving part of their 2011 Colorado River allocation in Mead to forestall mandatory cuts. Larry Dozier, deputy general manager of the Central Arizona Project, told the Republic: “If we leave a little water this year, we won’t take the bigger hit the next year. Then we can take another spin on Mother Nature’s roulette wheel and see what happens.”  The closing December elevations for the last decade are below. For elevations going back to the reservoir’s impoundment, click here to be taken to the federal Bureau of Reclamation.

December 2010: 1,086.30

December 2009: 1,096.30

December 2008: 1,110.97

December 2007: 1,114.81

December 2006: 1,128.12

December 2005: 1,137.52

December 2004: 1,130.01

December 2003: 1,139.12

December 2002: 1,152.13

December 2001: 1,177.37

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