A recreation destination for some 8 million visitors a year, Lake Mead also supplies drinking water to 25 million people in California, Arizona and Nevada. Its hydropower facilities provide electricity to cities including Las Vegas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Tucson and San Diego.
The lake is at its lowest level in 40 years. In the last decade alone, its water level has fallen nearly 100 feet, to its current level of 1,106 feet — not far from the minimum 1,050-foot level needed for Hoover dam to operate.
The lake’s falling level has prompted the city of Las Vegas to drill a lower water intake line at a cost of $817 million, paid for in part by a surcharge on citizens and businesses for water usage.
Water systems and communities across Texas are feeling the pinch of water scarcity. To find out about them, see page 8 of Texas Water Report: Going Deeper for the Solution (PDF).