There could be some promising relief for those residents living in the southwestern United States after a new report declared there will be no water shortage at Nevada's Lake Mead in 2018.
A new study by the Bureau of Reclamation found that water flows slightly improved compared with recent years. A good winter and early spring on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains provided an adequate snow pack, which will eliminate the prospects for a water shortfall for next year.
August is the month when the bureau safely makes it prediction for water levels for the coming year.
“It is a relief, because we’ve been so close to this 1,075 level, over the last four years there’ve been several conservation agreements between different parties and has actually added 12 feet to Lake Mead and kept that water level up,” said Rose Davis, spokesperson for Reclamations for the lower Colorado region.
In its latest projection, the bureau said the lake level in January will be 8 feet above the point that would trigger a drought shortage declaration which would affect residents in both Nevada and Arizona.
The official trigger level is 1,075 feet and if the lake falls below that, water officials become concerned. In the last three years it has fallen below this level a couple of times according to Davis. This usually happens in the summertime when there’s a big draw for water for businesses, especially farmers.
There has never been a declared shortage by the Bureau in Lake Mead where water allocation had to be cut. This comes even amid levels in the lake that are at its lowest since the reservoir was first dug in the 1930’s and also as a 16-year-long drought since 2000 has scorched the region.
“We continue to live on the edge because the drought is far from over. One wet year does not undo several years of drought," said Davis.
According to an April 2017 report by American Rivers, a conservation group, the Lower Colorado River provides drinking water for one in ten Americans, including residents of Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Phoenix. This region grows approximately 90 percent of the nation’s winter vegetables.
Even though with this good news, Davis cautioned consumers to keep conserving water.
“Conservation is hugely important…what it really signals is that with no shortage everyone is going to get their water deliveries that they’re entitled to by contract," Davis said.