Federal officials project higher Lake Mead water level following wettest May on record

A rainy May has boosted monthly projections for water levels at Lake Mead through next year and into 2017.

A 24-month look ahead issued Monday by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation offers good news for the Colorado River reservoir crucial to supplies for about 40 million residents and farms, tribes and businesses in seven Southwest U.S. states.

It comes just a month after officials said the Colorado River reservoir behind Hoover Dam could reach a low point in January 2017 that would force supply cuts to Arizona and Nevada.

That's still a possibility: The lake remained at 37 percent full Monday, with a water surface level just over a critical 1,075 feet above sea level.

The big improvement is upstream, at Lake Powell.

It improved from 45 percent to 51 percent full.