Lake Mead reaches lowest level on record amid exceptional drought
The disconcerting water-level record comes ahead of a week of extreme temperatures that will climb to near 110 degrees. The area surrounding Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States, is under an excessive heat warning.
It’s possible that, in years ahead, the Hoover Dam may no longer be able to generate electricity at certain times of the year as a result of subsiding water levels.
At top capacity, Lake Mead’s water would come to an elevation of 1,229 feet, but it is considered full when maximum water elevation reaches 1,219.6 feet. Lake levels reached an all-time minimum of 1,071.44 feet on Thursday, below the previous record low set July 1, 2016.
The lake began filling in 1934 before the Hoover Dam’s completion in March 1936. Since then lake levels have been monitored continuously, and are a product of river inflow, controlled release, precipitation and evaporation. When the lake is full it covers 248 square miles. The release is used to generate electricity and supply water demand in the area, including to farms and communities, including Las Vegas. The …
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