Lake Mead

Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Prolonged drought in the Southwest has caused a rapid drop in the water level of Lake Mead. That’s putting water supplies to some major cities in jeopardy. But it’s also exposed some of the area’s history and a long-submerged town. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports. 

Federal water managers are due to release a monthly projection of water levels at Lake Mead on Monday, and the rain in May might change what they say.

Last month, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation reported that the Colorado River reservoir behind Hoover Dam could reach a low point in January 2017 that would force supply cuts to Arizona and Nevada.

Officials heading water agencies in the two states and California took a wait-and-see approach, and pointed to fluctuations in regional precipitation since January.

National Park Service, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Federal water managers are projecting Lake Mead will drop to levels in January 2017 that could force supply cuts to Arizona and Nevada.

Arizona's water allocation could be cut 11.4 percent and Nevada's by about 4.3 percent.

A closely watched U.S. Bureau of Reclamation report released Monday predicts water levels will be just 2 feet above a trigger point next January on the Colorado River reservoir supplying much of the Southwest's drinking water.

The so-called interim guidelines chart a decline leading to a declaration of a shortage the following year.

National Park Service

If you’ve got an older model watercraft, with a carbureted, two stroke engine, don’t bother taking it to either Lake Mead or Lake Mohave after the 1st of the year.