If you were planning on parking your RV along the shores of Lake Mead anytime soon, you’d better prepare for a hike to the water, too.
On Monday, August 16th, the Bureau of Reclamation declared a Level 1 Water Shortage Condition for Lake Mead. That’s the first time the lake has ever seen a Level 1 declaration. It will lead to a series of water use cuts that take effect as early as 2022.
Access to the lake is becoming difficult, with marinas servicing the Lake Mead National Recreation Area forced to move farther into the lake in order to launch watercraft.
The lake, which is about 500 feet deep when it’s full, still has a few hundred feet of water. But hills and mountains that were long submerged are beginning to near the surface, causing boating hazards.
Who will lose allocated water from the water shortage?
The drought in the American West and the effects of a shrinking water supply led to the Level 1 designation and will likely impact municipal water supplies all over the West as early as 2024.
Arizona is slated to lose about 512,000 acre-feet of previously allocated water from Lake Mead in 2022. Nevada will lose 21,000 acre-feet, and Mexico will lose 80,000 acre-feet. An acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre of land one foot deep (that’s about 326,000 gallons).
Hoover Dam will also be impacted, since water from Lake Mead turns those big turbines that generate electricity.
Remember Echo Bay at Lake Mead?
Longtime RVers might remember the large RV park, marina and resort at Echo Bay at Lake Mead. As the waters began to recede, the resort was closed. The marina was the next victim. The lake now sits a mile from the end of the nearest boat ramp. The RV park is still there, but is only used by a handful of hardy campers.
For a fascinating, in-depth look at the current situation at Lake Mead and what the future holds for this popular recreation area, read a special report by NBC News 12 HERE.
Nevada museum commemorates the West’s “Lost City” (covered by Lake Mead)