On August 16, 2022, Reclamation issued its August 24-month study that is relied upon to determine operations for the upcoming water year for both Lakes Mead and Powell. The states in the lower basin were unable to reach an agreement for further cuts in the consumptive use of Colorado River water. The reductions mentioned by Reclamation in today’s announcement are those that were already put in place under the 2007 Interim Guidelines and the DCP.
SNWA and CRCNV letter
SNWA issued a letter on Monday, August 15, 2022, calling for the Secretary of the Interior to take further action given the lack of agreement among the states in the lower basin to further reduce consumptive uses. The letter is attached. The CRCNV also sent a letter to the Secretary of the Interior, Assistant Secretary for Water and Science and Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation on August 16, 2022, echoing SNWA’s concerns and the need for further action. That letter is also attached.
Summary of Reclamation’s August 24 month study and links
Pursuant to the August 24 month study, Lake Mead is projected to be below 1,050 feet and above 1,045 feet, on January 1, 2023, indicating a Level 2a Shortage Condition for the lower basin.
As a result, Nevada will have a 17,000 acre-feet reduction from the 2007 Interim Guidelines and an 8,000 acre-feet Drought Contingency Plan contribution in calendar year 2023. The reductions for a Level 2a Shortage Condition are highlighted in Figure 1 below. It should be noted, even with the reductions, Nevada’s consumptive use will still be below its remaining allocation and have the ability to bank the excess.
The August 24 Month Study projected the January 1, 2023, elevation for Lake Powell to be below 3,525 feet elevation indicating next year will be operated in the Lower Elevation Balancing Tier with an initial release of 7.0 million acre-feet.
Figure 1. The reductions for a Level 2a Shortage in calendar year 2023.
Below are press releases from Reclamation related to the 24 month study.
Reclamation Press Release:
The August 24 Month Study:
Southern Nevada relies on the water stored behind our iconic Hoover Dam in Lake Mead to supply our region with drinking water, as well as water for various other uses. Over the last 20 years, the Colorado River has suffered the worst drought in history causing Lake Mead to decline to unprecedented levels. Due to the prolonged lack of precipitation, low snowpack, dry soil conditions and increasing temperatures, the residents and industries located in the lower region of the Colorado River Basin, including Southern Nevada, will have the first ever shortage in 2022.
For more information, please visit our Drought and Colorado River Declared Shortage page.
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness, like the flu, which is spread person to person—there is no indication that transmission can occur via drinking water supplies.
The Colorado River Commission of Nevada does not anticipate any current scenario that would interrupt water availability to our community.
Information about water quality can be found at the Southern Nevada Water Authority webpage.
Information about COVID-19 prevention and treatment can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.