Lake Mead Water Level
Lake Mead was created by the creation of the Hoover Dam. Since 1935 the dam has controlled the water from the Colorado River. By 1938 enough water had filled behind the dam that the lake was essentially filled. Water levels fluctuate year to year and are controlled by water usage, water entering the Colorado River Basin, and the amount of water permitted to flow from upstream Lake Powell. Although nearby Las Vegas consumes some of Lake Mead's water, most of the water is allocated downstream to Arizona and California through long standing treaties. The population explosion in the southwest part of the country has dramatically increased water usage. The lake was able to keep up with the population growth and demands on it's water throughout the 20th century. However, since the lake reached its latest high elevation in the year 2000 it has been in a steady decline due to a drought that has plagued the southwest. The lake has now been lowered to it's lowest level since filling behind the dam had began in 1935. The lake level is now a few feet below the first mandatory water rationing requirement. Based upon future projections of the lake levels it is anticipated that the lake level will decline another 80 feet over the next few years. The lowering of the lake has forced the closure of several marinas and boat launches. On the positve side the lower lake level has allowed for several dive sites such as the Aggregate Piles and some boats in Wreck Alley to become within the reach of recreational diving.