High good, low bad: Mead in September

Posted on | October 1, 2009 | No Comments


Fireworks over Hoover Dam in 2002 for the US Bureau of Reclamation centennial. Photo: USBR. The year of Reclamation's centennial was at the time the worst on record for snowmelt recharging the Colorado River. Fast shrinking reserves in Lake Mead behind Hoover Dam convinced quarreling states along the Colorado River that the days of surpluses were over and the Colorado River was headed into an epochal drought.

COMPLETION of Hoover Dam in 1936 created Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States. It holds Colorado River water serving California, Arizona, Nevada and the Republic of Mexico. Climate change and population growth in Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Diego and Los Angeles have reduced the lake’s elevation more than 32 feet in the last five years. Here are year-on-year US Bureau of Reclamation closing elevations for September going back to 2004:

DATE                       ELEVATION

September 30, 2009: 1,093.72

September 30, 2008: 1,105.76

September 30, 2007: 1,111.06

September 30, 2006: 1,125.36

September 30, 2005: 1,138.36

September 30, 2004: 1,125.86


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