Lake Mead water levels are dangerously close to reaching ‘dead pool’ status

Lake Mead water levels are dangerously close to reaching 'dead pool' status

Water levels in Lake Mead continue to deplete to dangerous levels – so much so that the reservoir could soon reach “dead pool” levels.

Lake Mead, formed by the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River, is the largest reservoir in the United States and provides drinking water to millions of people in California, Arizona, Nevada and parts of Mexico. Water levels have continued to reach historic lows since last year and are now dangerously close to becoming a ‘dead pool’ – when water does not flow towards a dam and is too low to flow into downstream.

The minimum surface elevation needed to generate electricity at the Hoover Dam is 1,050 feet, according to the US Bureau of Reclamation. Anything below is considered an “inactive pool” and a “dead pool” exists at 895 feet elevation.

PHOTO: A once sunken boat stands upright in the air with its stern stuck in mud along the Lake Mead shoreline at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, June 10, 2022, near Boulder City, Nevada.

A once sunken boat stands upright in the air with its stern stuck in mud along the Lake Mead shoreline at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, June 10, 2022, near Boulder City, Nevada.

John Locher/AP

Lake Mead’s water levels measured at 1,043.82 feet Thursday morning, according to Bureau of Reclamation records, putting it within 150 feet of becoming a dead pool.

The mega-drought has become so intense that last month receding waters from Lake Mead revealed several human bodies, some of which may have been thrown into the reservoir.

The first-ever water shortage was declared for Lake Mead last August, resulting in reduced water discharges to Arizona, Nevada and Mexico in a bid to continue generating electricity and supplying water for essential uses. Lake Mead levels are expected to reach a level that may require additional cuts by July 2023, according to the Bureau of Reclamation.

This year, water levels will likely continue to dry up until the onset of the rainy season in November.

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