Recent rain, snowfall unlikely to affect drought conditions

If what we've experienced so far continues, this could turn out to be one of the wettest winters in recent history for many western states. California, Arizona, and Nevada all hoping to recover from years of drought.

"But the truth is you can't undo a 16, 17-year drought with one good snow year, " said Rose Davis of the Bureau of Reclamation which regulates dams and reservoirs, including Lake Mead. "California," she said, "can't undo it's drought with one heavy rain year, even though they are experiencing flooding."

Tourists who visit the Lake Mead area immediately notices what is referred to as the "bathtub ring", where the water level used to be.

"It's dramatically below the normal level," said David Flannigan of Maine. "And I guess the white line indicates how high the water has been, and it's really shocking."

Lake Mead gets its water from the Colorado River and is a primary water source for all three of the states previously mentioned, as well as Mexico.

This year it's scheduled to receive approximately 9-million-acre feet, but that exact amount is what will also go out to users.

"We're going to get that much, deliver that much and through evaporation and seepage, the lake is going to drop some more," said Davis.

Unfortunately, the projection for the coming year is still in the negative for Lake Mead. The experts say even if our exceptional winter continues, we would need much more just to make a dent.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off