Above-Average Snowpack Will Raise Lake Mead, Buy Time for Collaboration

A federal report released April 20 says near-record snowpack in the Colorado River Basin could raise the elevation of Lake Mead by more than 20 feet by the end of the year, providing a critical opportunity for water agencies to improve long-term management of the river.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s report shows vastly improved hydrological conditions are also expected to raise the water level in Lake Powell by more than 50 feet. California relies heavily on lakes Powell and Mead for water, as do Arizona and Nevada.

Despite the good news this year, the ongoing trend toward a hotter and drier climate means long-term solutions remain critical. About two-thirds of San Diego County’s supplies are conserved Colorado River water.