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Dropping Lake Mead levels prompting further outdoor water conservation

Aerial Lake Mead
Posted at 7:49 PM, May 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-03 08:39:55-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A push to conserve outdoor water use in the valley comes as Lake Mead could possibly see water levels at their lowest point in decades, likely causing the federal government to declare a water shortage.

The shores of Lake Mead are retreating little by little, as a two-decade drought continues to evaporate more water. This year’s winter mountain snow was not enough to thoroughly replenish the lake.

RELATED STORY: Further drop in Lake Mead water level could trigger water shortage declaration

Much of the water from a light snowpack in the Rockies is not getting into the Colorado River and into Lake Mead, with the local areas having very significant dry soil conditions.

Studies from the Bureau of Reclamation showing the lake at around 1,080 feet currently and likely to dip below 1,075 feet.

This would cause the federal government to declare a level one shortage, meaning, southern Nevada would have to cut back 7 billion gallons of water.

“Now seven billion gallons less is a significant hit to our water supply, but fortunately southern Nevada has been preparing for these kinds of conditions," Bronson Mack, spokesperson for the Southern Nevada Water Authority, said.

RELATED STORY: Declining water levels will impact boat launches at Lake Mead

Mack says the valley has used far less water than its allotted from the Colorado River thanks to conservation efforts. There’s a still sufficient water supply with an eight-year supply of water saved as well. Mack says there’s no need to use that resource yet.

“There is so much we can do to save water here locally that will prevent us from having to tap those resources and we can save those for an even drier future,” he said.

This includes limiting outdoor water use like sprinklers and replacing decorative lawns with water-friendly landscaping. Mack says that continuing and improving these efforts will make a difference.

“As long as our community keeps conserving. As long as we reduce our outdoor water use, we’re going to be okay,” Mack said.