LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Lake Mead’s water level projections in July are looking only slightly better than June’s by nearly half a foot, the Bureau of Reclamation’s 24-month forecast shows.
Last month, Lake Mead was projected to be sitting at 1,040.63 feet by January 2023. This month’s projection for January ticked up to 1,041.10 feet.
However, the lake is expected to drop roughly 21 feet by this time next year. By the end of July, the lake’s elevation is projected to decline to 1,040.70 feet, compared to 1,019.18 feet in July 2023. The bureau’s projections showed the lake’s levels could fluctuate slightly, rising and falling a few feet before possibly dropping to 1,013.03 feet in June 2024.
If lake levels were to drop below 1,000 feet, Intake No. 3 will be “capable of drawing upon Colorado River water,” according to the Southern Nevada Water Authority. Intake No. 1 was turned off and operations were switched to No. 3 in April, a month before the lake dropped to a milestone low beneath 1,050 feet.
The lake’s level is expressed as an altitude, so its surface is measured above sea level.
It’s likely that the lake will see Tier 2 conservation measures in place next year because its levels are continuing to drop beneath 1,050 feet. Whether that will actually happen will be determined by August’s projections.
If Tier 2 water restrictions are put in place, Las Vegas could see a reduction in the 279,000 acre-feet of water it currently receives from Lake Mead.