How bad is the dryness in the western united States? A stunning explicate of the record dry spell comes in images of Lake Mead, the reservoir developed by the Hoover Dam top top the Colorado River. NASA satellite images, below, from Landsat 7 and also Landsat 8 display the difference in lake levels between August 2000 and also August 2021.

You are watching: Hoover dam lake mead water level

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Comparative Landsat satellite pictures of Lake Mead from respectable 7, 2000 (left) and also August 9, 2021 (right). Credit: NASA

According to the U.S. Office of Reclamation, the water level in the reservoir — which gives drinking water to millions of civilization in California, Arizona, Nevada, and part of north Mexico — to be measured at its lowest level because the lake was created with the damming of the Colorado river in 1935.

Data reflects that as of respectable 22, 2021, Lake Mead was filled to just 35 percent the its capacity. The low water level comes at a time as soon as 95 percent that the soil in nine Western says is influenced by some level of dryness (64 percent is too much or worse). It proceeds a 22-year megadrought that might be the ar worst dry spell in twelve centuries.


The image from 2021 reflects tan “fringes” follow me the shoreline in 2021, i m sorry are areas of the lakebed that would be underwater as soon as the reservoir is filled closer to capacity. This phenomenon is often referred to as a “bathtub ring.”

The lake elevation data, displayed below, states that in ~ the end of July 2021, the water key at the Hoover Dam was 1067.65 feet (325 meters) above sea level, the lowest since April 1937, when the lake was still gift filled. The key at the end of July 2000—around the moment of the Landsat 7 images – was together 1,199.97 feet (341 meters).

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Data via the U.S. Office of Reclamation and also NASA.

At maximum capacity, Lake Mead reaches an elevation 1,220 feet (372 meters) near the dam and also would hold 9.3 sunshine gallons (36 sunshine liters) that water. The lake last approached complete capacity in the summers the 1983 and also 1999. It has been dropping ever since.

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Lake Mead is the biggest reservoir in the United says and part of a device that offers water to at least 40 million people. The record low levels in the reservoir way less water will be portioned the end to some claims in the 2022 water year, and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation stated that “the reductions stand for the first “shortage” declaration—demonstrating the severity the the drought and low reservoir conditions.”

Sources and also further reading: NASA earth Observatory, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation


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CategoriesClimate, Earth, Images, Satellites TagsClimate Change, Dought, Lake Mead, Landsat, landsat 7, landsat 8

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