LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — With the eyes of the world on the American southwest this spring, waiting to see if melting snow from Colorado will make much of a difference to Lake Mead and other reservoirs, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation continues to make water level projections. But can those projections, or predictions, be relied upon?

8 News Now took a close look at some of the mountains of data available on Reclamation’s website. We looked back over the last two years to see if projections made six months out were accurate, too optimistic or too low.

What was found was more-or-less encouraging. Using Reclamation’s own monthly data for predictions showed that while the bureau never nailed the 6-month prediction precisely, it came close several times.

Its 6-month prediction for Sept. 2022 was off by only four inches. The largest discrepancy came in May 2022 when Reclamation’s 6-month prediction was off by more than 12 feet.

Data used for this look at 6-month predictions were taken from the monthly Most Probable 24-Month Study published by Reclamation and put on its website monthly.

In the Most Probable 24-Month Study (above) there is data showing water inflow, release, evaporation and levels for the following reservoirs within the Colorado River Basin:

  • Fontenelle
  • Flaming Gorge
  • Taylor Park
  • Blue Mesa
  • Murrow Point
  • Crystal
  • Vallecito
  • Navajo
  • Lake Powell
  • Lake Mead
  • Lake Mohave
  • Lake Havasu

For each reservoir, there is data going back 12 months and projections for the next 24 months.