LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A 24-month forecast shows Lake Mead dropping another 26 feet by September of 2023.
That represents more than a third of the water stored in Lake Mead.
The Bureau of Reclamation released the report showing the lake level will drop every month until December, when the forecast shows the lake rising from 1,037.60 feet back up to 1,039.92 feet. After three months of rising levels, Lake Mead is then projected to drop for seven consecutive months, when it will be at 1,023.71 feet.
The lake level is expressed as an altitude — Lake Mead’s surface was at 1,049.40 feet above sea level at 1 p.m. on Tuesday.
Storage in the reservoir was at 8,026,000 acre-feet at the end of April. The forecast brings that storage down to 5,899,000 acre-feet at the end of September 2023. That’s a 36% drop.
Recent reports indicate that Tier 2 conservation measures will likely kick in early next year as the lake continues to drop below the 1,050-foot mark.
On Aug. 16, 2021, the federal government issued a water shortage declaration on the Colorado River. That declaration reduced Southern Nevada’s water allocation by 7 billion gallons in January.
Las Vegas currently gets 279,000 acre-feet of water from Lake Mead under Tier 1 restrictions, and that would be further reduced if Tier 2 restrictions come.
Last year, the valley used 247,000 acre-feet of water, according to Southern Nevada Water Authority spokesman Bronson Mack.