What Does The Lake Mead Water Level Rising Mean For You?

Date: March 18, 2020
Category: History Houseboat Tips

As the sparkling blue waters of Lake Mead glisten at the base of the red rock canyons that surround it, it’s hard to believe that this incredible sight is a man-made creation. While Lake Mead may be a popular tourist destination and the perfect place to enjoy water sports, it also plays an integral role in the community by providing nearby residents with the fresh water they need to survive. 

The fact of the matter is, the water levels in Lake Mead have a significant impact on the region in many ways. Currently, water levels are on the decline, but what does that mean for your upcoming houseboat vacation? 

Here’s what you need to know:

Lake Mead Water Levels and Your Houseboat Vacation

Around the turn of the 21st century, a drought began in the Colorado River basin, and since that time, Lake Mead water levels have been steadily dropping. The dwindling water levels are a cause for alarm for both residents and visitors, who rely on the water for fresh drinking water, farming and recreational activity.

This past year, there has been a significant drought due to an unusually warm summer. Reports show that if conditions don’t dramatically improve over the course of the next few years, there’s a chance Lake Mead and Lake Powell could dip to critically low levels by 2025. 

So, what does the water levels of Lake Mead mean for your houseboat vacation? Let’s take a look:

  • The time of year that you plan your houseboat vacation matters. In general, water levels are higher in the late spring and early summer, when the runoff from the mountains is filling the lake. During the peak summer vacation season, water levels can get significantly lower as the warm, dry air causes the lake water to quickly evaporate.
  • For the most part, you should be able to enjoy your houseboat to the fullest, and the experts at Callville Bay Resort and Marina will provide you with any restrictions that you may need to know about. For instance, if the water levels are low, you may be limited by where you can take your houseboat on the lake. If the water levels are higher, you may find that there are fewer beach sites.

The Impact of Fluctuating Water Levels on the Region

The entire Colorado River basin area is impacted when the waters of Lake Mead and other nearby reservoirs rise and fall. These reservoirs provide the region with the fresh water that it needs. As the population continues to rise throughout the American West, there is a greater demand for water — and dwindling water levels have minimized the availability of that water. 

At its core, the fluctuating water levels are an economic issue. The people in the area require fresh water, and this natural resource can be hard to come by in a dry, arid region. As the water levels receded over the course of several decades, it caught the attention of environmental experts, governmental agencies and politicians. Many anticipate that further action will need to be taken in order to reverse the course of this pattern. 

At the beginning of 2020, it was determined that the first-ever water delivery cuts were required. Despite a slight rise in water levels in late 2019 and early 2020, Lake Mead still came in just below the threshold needed to avoid those cuts. In addition to the water delivery cuts, states who rely on the water from the Lake Mead reservoir are going to be required to contribute to the lake to help increase the water supply.

The History of Lake Mead Water Levels

Lake Mead is one of the largest bodies of freshwater in the region — but it hasn’t always been there. This lake is actually a man-made reservoir that was created as a result of the construction of the Hoover Dam. It was first flooded by the dam in 1935, and remained a full reservoir for several decades. However, during that same time period, there was significant population growth in the region. By the late 20th century, increased demand combined with natural weather events, such as droughts, began to impact the water levels in the reservoir. Water levels began to decline significantly around the year 2000, and the water supply has continued to dwindle since then. The water levels in Lake Mead can impact both local residents as well as visitors who want to enjoy a lakefront vacation in the middle of the desert.

Will It Fill Up Again?

Experts began to warn of the consequences of low water levels in Lake Mead almost immediately. However, the water levels began to decline swiftly, and the factors contributing to the decline could not be easily reversed. At this point, experts who study the reservoir and monitor its water levels do not believe that Lake Mead will ever be at full capacity again. 

The good news is, this isn’t as dire as it sounds. Lake Mead water levels will hopefully begin to rise again with current efforts made to curtail the draining of this lake. Lake Mead is a special place that means a lot to the people who live in this area and who rely on its fresh water. It’s also a favorite vacation destination for travelers who want to jet ski on the surf, relax on a houseboat or go kayaking into a small cove. It may never be as full as it was when it was first flooded in 1935, but Lake Mead will survive.

Lake Mead may not be full, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy a fabulous vacation on this oasis in the middle of the desert. At Callville Bay Resort and Marina, we are frequently monitoring the water levels in Lake Mead and we will make sure that you can enjoy the best possible vacation on the water. To learn more about the current water levels and how that may impact your houseboat rental, contact us today.