Lake Mead Elevation at Hoover Dam Continues to Fall:  January 31, 2009 Report
Ken Dewey, Applied Climate Sciences Group at the UNL School of Natural Resources.

Lake Mead's elevation continues to fall due to (1) continued drought in the southwestern U.S. and,
(2), increased population growth with associated demand for water resources.

Lake Mead's January 2009 elevation,  111.78 feet, is 5 feet lower than last year at this time.
Lake Mead is 118 feet below maximum elevation!  Lake Mead has fallen to 46% of capacity!

Photo © K. Dewey January 2009: Lake Mead. The red lines mark the exposed "bath tub ring"
around the Lake and indicate the height of the lake at maximum elevation.

NOTE:   LINK to more January 2009 Lake Mead/Hoover Dam Photos.

Some Lake Mead Statistics
January 2009 Elevation is 1,111.78 feet
Maximum Elevation is 1229.70 feet
January 2009 Elevation is 118 Feet Below Maximum elevation
The level of Lake Mead at Hoover Dam has been falling since October 1998, when it reached the all-time high of 1215.76 feet
The January 2009 level of Lake Mead at Hoover Dam has dropped 103.98 feet since October 1998
The January 2009 level of 1111.78 feet is the lowest January level since 1965 when it was only 1089.83 feet.
January, 2009 Surface area is 93,900 acres
Maximum Surface area is 162,700 acres
January 2009 Surface area is 57.7% of Max. Surface area
It took 19 years after the 1964 low point for Lake Mead to fill up again.
January, 2009 Volume of water is 46% Full

LINK TO all of the Lake Mead Elevation Data Archive
January 2009 Reservoir Levels in the Southwest
(The data in this table are from Arizona Game and Fish)

NOTE: as of January 2009:
Alamo Reservoir is only at 15% of capacity
San Carlos is only at 20% of capacity
Horseshoe Lake is only at 35% of capacity

Alamo Reservoir: 
Max. Elevation (ft): 1,235  Current Elevation (ft): 1,123 
Max. Surface (acres): 13,300 Current Surface (acres): 3,755 
Feet Below Max.: -112 Percent Full: 15% 

Apache Lake: (Horse Mesa) 
Max. Elevation (ft): 1,914  Current Elevation (ft): 1,912 
Max. Surface (acres): 2,656 Current Surface (acres): 2,625 
Feet Below Max.: -2 Percent Full: 98% 

Max. Elevation (ft): 1,798  Current Elevation (ft): 1,775 
Max. Surface (acres): 2,815 Current Surface (acres): 2,144 
Feet Below Max.: -23 Percent Full: 68% 

Canyon Lake: (Mormon Flat) 
Max. Elevation (ft): 1,660 Current Elevation (ft): 1,658 
Max. Surface (acres): 947 Current Surface (acres): 936 
Feet Below Max.: -2 Percent Full: 96% 

Lake Havasu: 
Max. Elevation (ft): 450  Current Elevation (ft) : 447 
Max. Surface (acres): 20,400 Current Surface (acres): 19,100 
Feet Below Max.: -3 Percent Full: 91% 
 Lake Havasu, unlike Lake Powell and Lake Mead is not allowed to 
substantially change its storage.  This is the result of it being a feeder lake 
into the Los Angeles aqueduct system

Horseshoe Lake: 
Max. Elevation (ft): 2,026 Current Elevation (ft): 1,988 
Max. Surface (acres): 2,812 Current Surface (acres): 1733 
Feet Below Max.: -38 Percent Full: 35% 

Lake Mead: 
Max. Elevation (ft): 1,229  Current Elevation (ft): 1,111 
Max. Surface (acres): 162,700 Current Surface (acres): 93,900 
Feet Below Max.: -118 Percent Full: 46%* 
* Percent Full calculations does not include the flood control volume adjustment 

Lake Mohave: 
Max. Elevation (ft): 647  Current Elevation (ft): 641 
Max. Surface (acres): 28,800  Current Surface (acres): 26,900 
Feet Below Max.: -6 Percent Full: 91% 

Lake Pleasant: (Waddell Dam) 
Max. Elevation (ft): 1,702  Current Elevation (ft): 1,678 
Max. Surface (acres): 9,957 Current Surface (acres): 8,183 
Feet Below Max.: -24 Percent Full: 75% 

Lake Powell: 
Max. Elevation (ft): 3,614 Current Elevation (ft): 3,614 
Max. Surface (acres): 160,800 Current Surface (acres): 102,700 
Feet Below Max.: -86 Percent Full: 54%

Roosevelt Lake: 
Max. Elevation (ft): 2,151  Current Elevation (ft): 2,150 
Max. Surface (acres): 21,493 Current Surface (acres): 21,351 
Feet Below Max.: -1 Percent Full: 99%

San Carlos: 
Max. Elevation (ft): 2,525  Current Elevation (ft): 2,456 
Max. Surface (acres): 19,985 Current Surface (acres): 7,621 
Feet Below Max.: -69 Percent Full: 20%

April 1998:  Elevation 1212.74 feet
Photo: Colorado River Commission of Nevada
January 2009:  Elevation 1111.78 feet
The red line shows the level when full.  Photo © K. Dewey, UNL, SNR
LINK to more Lake Mead January 2009 photos

The phenomenal Growth of Las Vegas has continued to put pressure on the water resources,
however, it is interesting to note that the population fell in Las Vegas and Clark County
in 2008 (see below).  

1905 -- Town of Las Vegas established by auctioning of land.
1911 -- The city of Las Vegas is incorporated.
1931 -- Hoover Dam construction begins in Black Canyon.
1940 -- Clark County population 16,414 (Las Vegas: 8,422).
1950 -- Clark County population 48,289 (Las Vegas: 24,624).
1960 -- Clark County population 127,016 (Las Vegas: 64,405).
1970 -- Clark County population 273,288 (Las Vegas: 125,787).
1980 -- Clark County population 463,087 (Las Vegas: 164,674)
1990 -- Clark County population 741,459 (Las Vegas: 258,295)
1995 -- Clark County population for the first time is estimated at more than 1 million residents.
2000 -- Clark County population 1,425,723 (Las Vegas: 483,448)
2001 -- Clark County's population 1,498,274 (Las Vegas: 506,111)
2003 -- Clark County's population 1,641,529 (Las Vegas: 535,395)
2006 -- Clark County population 1,912,654 (Las Vegas: 591,536)
2007 -- Clark County population 1,996,542 (Las Vegas: 602,696)
2008 -- Clark County population 1,986,146 (down 10,396 from 2007)
2008 -- Las Vegas: 599,087 (down 4,006 from 2007)

New residents arriving in Clark County:
1990: 5,128 per month
1995: 5,384 per month
2000: 6,849 per month
2006: 8,080 per month
Number of visitors to Las Vegas in 1970: 6.8 million
Number of visitors to Las Vegas in 2004: 37.4 million

January 2009:  Pollution hangs over the Las Vegas skyline.  Photo © K. Dewey.    

NOTE:  LINK to more Las Vegas, January 2009 Photos


Previous HPRCC/NDMC Lake Mead, Southwest Drought Reports
(with photos)
The year 2007 Drought in the Southwestern U.S.
The year 2006 Drought in the Southwestern U.S.
The year 2003 Drought in the Southwestern U.S.
The Year 2002 Drought in the Southwestern U.S.

Lake Mead, and Vicinity, Water Issues -  News Reports and Data
  ""If the drought continues another two years, we will lose our second intake. At this point, Southern Nevada loses 90-percent of its water supply,"   -- February 12, 2009 SNWA Chief Pat Mulroy.  Read more below about this as well as other water news.
Using Less Water, But Why?
Las Vegas Water Supply Situation Grim
Vegas Water Pipeline Discussed
When Will Las Vegas Run Dry?
Hidden Oasis: Water Conservation and Efficiency in Las Vegas
Stakes High for Las Vegas Water Czar
Satellite Sees a Smaller Lake Mead
Drought Lowers Lake Mead
Lake Mead in Drought
NASA:  Lake Mead Water Level Drops
Lake Mead Water Level Taking a Toll on Businesses
The Colorado River System is in the Worst Drought on Record
Drought Conditions in the West
Water Data.Com
Lake Powell Water Levels
History of Glen Canyon and Lake Powell
Lakes Low Water Levels Exposes Prized Canyons
Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge:  Construction Resuming Slowly Following Collapse
Quenching Thirst
Single Firm to Design, Build Water Intake
Drought Shrinking Jewels of the Desert

Interior Chief Cites Progress on Water Deal

A Crisis Brews on the Colorado
Interior Chief Cites Progress on Water Deal
Colorado River:  Drought and Deadlines
Hoover Dam Information
A view of the Hoover Dam when the water level is high
enough that water is going into the spillways on the
other side and disgorging on this side.

Photo courtesy of the Bureau of Reclamation.

Bureau of Reclamation
Hoover Dam Tours
Sunset Cities:  History of Hoover Dam
The Hoover Dam:   Lonely Lands Made Fruitful
Hoover Dam U.S. 93 Bypass Project
Hoover Dam Museum
Desert U.S.A. Hoover Dam Information

January 2009 Drought Monitor Map


Last Year

Click HERE  or on the above map to see the current U.S. Drought Monitor Map


The National Drought Mitigation Center

University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Applied Climate Sciences, School of Natural Resources

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