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Lake Mead forecast to drop 30 feet in 2 years

Lake Mead is projected to drop about 30 feet over the next two years based on the “most probable” outlook by the Bureau of Reclamation released Aug. 31.

It is most likely that Lake Mead will be at 1,013.70 feet above sea level by July 2024, according to officials.

As of 10 a.m. Wednesday, the surface of the lake at Hoover Dam was at 1,044.12 feet, a rise of 3.41 feet since its summer low of 1,040.71 feet on July 27 — partly because of unusually heavy monsoon rainfall runoff into the lake and partly because of lower demand from downstream users.

The Bureau of Reclamation releases 24-month projections monthly. They forecast Colorado River system conditions using single-trace hydrology scenarios simulated with the Colorado River Mid-term Modeling System.

The full range of two-year projections for Lake Mead and Lake Powell visit https://www.usbr.gov/lc/region/g4000/riverops/crmms-2year-projections.html.

To see the projections on all reservoirs in the Colorado River Basin, visit https://www.usbr.gov/uc/water/hydrodata/crmms/current/8_2022/site_map.html.

Five-year outlook

In addition to the two-year projections, the government updated its five-year projections for lake levels. Those show a 57 percent chance that Lake Mead will be below 1,020 feet by August 2027. The forecast also predicts a 17 percent chance — about 1 in 5 — that the lake will drop below 1,000 feet. There is a 3 percent chance the lake could drop below 950 feet in five years.

At 895 feet, Hoover Dam would be a dead pool where it could not produce power and water could not be sent downstream to Arizona, California and Mexico.

Contact Marvin Clemons at mclemons@reviewjournal.com or 702-863-4285. Follow @Marv_in_Vegas on Twitter.

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