Drought in the southwestern U.S. will deplete the vast Lake Mead this week to levels not seen since Hoover Dam was completed and the reservoir on the Colorado River was filled in the 1930s, federal water managers said Tuesday.
The projected lake level of about 1,080 feet above sea level will be below the level of about 1,082 feet recorded in November 2010 and the 1,083-foot mark measured in April 1956 during another sustained drought.
But U.S. Bureau of Reclamation regional chief Terry Fulp said water obligations will be met at least through next year without a key shortage declaration. The result will be full deliveries to cities, states, farms and Indian tribes in an area that's home to some 40 million people and the cities of Las Vegas, Phoenix and Los Angeles.
"We continue to closely monitor the projections of declining lake levels and are working with stakeholders throughout the Lower Basin to keep as much water in Lake Mead as we can through various storage and conservation efforts," Fulp said in a statement.
The lake on Tuesday was just under 1,082 feet above sea level, and the reservoir was about 39 percent full, said Rose Davis, a bureau spokeswoman in Boulder City, Nevada.