U.S. Senator Harry Reid heard the lament of the business owners and called an assortment of agencies and stakeholders and told them to all sit down at the table. The result could mean some extra water for the lake. More>>
Chief Investigative Reporter George Knapp and Photojournalist Matt Adams
The lake that feeds Lake Mead has seen its water level rise by more than 30 feet in recent weeks, while at the same time, Mead's level is plummeting. It's not a natural occurence but the result of a political agreement, and it's causing havoc.More>>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 8:13 PM EDT2013-06-19 00:13:36 GMT
PAHRUMP, Nev. -- A fight between senators in Washington, D.C., could resurrect the controversial Yucca Mountain nuclear storage project in Nye County. Nye County leaders met Tuesday to support the openingMore>>
A fight between senators in Washington, D.C., could resurrect the controversial Yucca Mountain nuclear storage project in Nye County.More>>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 1:22 AM EDT2013-06-19 05:22:23 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- US Thrill Rides LLC Incorporated has submitted plans to the FAA to create a 650-foot roller coaster near the Tropicana Hotel. The Florida based company is remaining tight lipped on any ofMore>>
US Thrill Rides LLC Incorporated has submitted plans to the FAA to create a 650-foot roller coaster near the Tropicana Hotel.More>>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 10:49 PM EDT2013-06-19 02:49:28 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- Clark County Fire Department is battling a fire at a house near Russell Road and Spencer Street. According to the fire department's website, the fire started at around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.More>>
A grass fire ignited a house in the 5400 block of Escondido Street, near Russell Road and Spencer Street, Tuesday afternoon.More>>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 9:50 PM EDT2013-06-19 01:50:28 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- A Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officer has been relieved of duty after pleading guilty to charges of possession of a controlled substance. Officer Ramin Amely was charged with two felonyMore>>
A Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officer has been relieved of duty after pleading guilty to charges of possession of a controlled substance.More>>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 7:14 PM EDT2013-06-18 23:14:30 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- Three major resort projects in Las Vegas could be the boost the local economy needs. The construction and hospitality industries have struggled since the recession, but signs of a reboundMore>>
Three major resort projects in Las Vegas could be the boost the local economy needs. The construction and hospitality industries have struggled since the recession, but signs of a rebound are emerging.More>>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 7:08 PM EDT2013-06-18 23:08:21 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- Clark County residents could soon be paying nearly 3 cents more a gallon for fuel, depending on a decision by county commissioners. The Nevada Legislature recently approved a bill that allowsMore>>
Clark County residents could soon be paying nearly 3 cents more a gallon for fuel, depending on a decision by county commissioners.More>>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 6:18 PM EDT2013-06-18 22:18:45 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- A domestic violence nonprofit organization that helps rescue women from violent relationships, is now itself in need of saving. Safe Faith United might have to shut its doors July 1 becauseMore>>
A domestic violence nonprofit organization that helps rescue women from violent relationships, is now itself in need of saving.More>>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 5:26 PM EDT2013-06-18 21:26:50 GMT
HENDERSON -- Imagine tens of thousands of children around the world learning to swim all at the same time. That's what happened Tuesday as part of "The World's Largest Swimming Lesson." The swimmingMore>>
Imagine tens of thousands of children around the world learning to swim all at the same time. That's what happened Tuesday as part of "The World's Largest Swimming Lesson."More>>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 3:33 PM EDT2013-06-18 19:33:34 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- Motorcyclists and local authorities are using "Ride to Work" day to remind everyone to share the road. This year, there has been 16 motorcycle deaths in Nevada. John Cahill is an experiencedMore>>
Motorcyclists and local authorities are using "Ride to Work" day to remind everyone to share the road.More>>
The water level at Lake Mead stands at 1,094 feet, a mere 19 feet above what local water officials call a critical point. If the lake level drops to 1,075 feet, water agencies say they will have no choice but to authorize a multi-billion dollar pipeline to bring water from rural Nevada.
But as Eyewitness News reported last month, there is a bit of a mystery about the water level at Lake Mead, especially compared to other reservoirs on the Colorado River. Why would the water level at Lake Mead go down while the level at Lake Powell and other places goes up? Why is mead at 43-percent capacity while Powell is close to full?
The answer is because that's the deal signed by our state and six others, and it's a deal that might as well be carved in stone. The disparity between Mead and Powell has grown in recent weeks, prompting some to ask if it was done on purpose.
"In the long term, in the bigger picture, it provides far more stability for Lake Mead than Lake Mead ever had before," said Pat Mulroy with the Southern Nevada Water District.
That, in a nutshell, is how local water officials see the new multi-state pact that regulates the amount of water stored along the Colorado River. Mulroy was the chief negotiator for Nevada, and contrary to what critics have said, it was a good deal.
"You keep harping on the 2007 accord. This community got 80,000 acre feet of new supply," she said.
But, she adds, the other states got things they wanted too, including a new formula for where water is stored and for how long. Business owners on Lake Mead are not yet convinced that Nevada prevailed in those negotiations.
They've spent millions of dollars to continually move their marinas further and further out into the lake as the water level has continued to drop. They understand the basic reason. "It's going down because we're in a drought. That's nature. Not much we can do about it," said Terry Fulp with the Bureau of Reclamation.
If it was entirely about nature, then all the other reservoirs on the Colorado would be dropping at near the same levels as Lake Mead is dropping. That is not the case. All the others have been rising, a direct result of the deal that was signed in 2007.
Federal records back to 2000 show the levels in Mead and Powell have essentially mirrored each other in both dry years and wet years -- not exactly, but pretty close.
In 2007, prior to the new compact, the levels in the two lakes started to diverge, and since the new rules have kicked in, that divergence has grown more distinct with each passing month. The two lakes are headed in opposite directions.
According to Mulroy, it will balance out in the long run. Not everyone buys it. "We have a balancing act -- two reservoirs. It's entirely possible, and I think likely, the water level in our reservoir is permitted to drop while the one upstream is being filled," said Las Vegas Assemblyman Joe Hogan.
Hogan and others are suspicious. The latest figures show Lake Powell is close to topping out. Other reservoirs on the river are at 92-percent of capacity. Lake mead is at 43-percent of its capacity.
The reason Hogan and others are suspicious is the declaration by the water authority last month that if and when Lake Mead falls to the level of 1,075 feet, they will have "no choice but to launch the mutli-billion dollar rural pipeline project." To some, it almost looks manufactured. "I don't think we should be talking about $12 to $15 billion for a pipeline that is potentially an environmental disaster. I think the water authority is following its own course, in that area and other areas, and money is no object," he said.
"It's assumed they know what they're doing over there and we should agree and move forward, agree with it, rubber stamp it. I don't think that's a good way to conduct policy," said Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak.
Water officials say Lake Mead would be in even worse shape if they had not signed the deal, though marina operators wonder how it could be worse than it is now. They cling to the hope that the growing disparity will, as predicted, balance itself out.
Last month, following a summit meeting called by Senator Harry Reid, local and federal water authorities agreed to add a foot of water to Lake Mead without violating the pact. The Bureau of Reclamation says the foot has already been added, though operators out there did not notice it.
The business people say they hope Ms. Mulroy is right and that next year, Mead and Powell will be on more even footing.