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Hoover Dam 1983
This 1983 photo is of Hoover Dam when lake Mead's water level was 1,211 ft. (Click on picture for larger image.)
Hoover Dam 2003
This 2003 photo shows the same area after the water level had dropped to 1,148 ft. The lake continues to drop. (Click on picture for larger image.)
Lake Mead
Lake Mead's water level has dropped more than 100 feet since January 2000. (Click on picture for larger image.)
Drought Facts
The Colorado River system is facing the worst drought on record. Conservation is important to help Southern Nevada weather the drought.
  • The average flow of the Colorado River during 2000 to 2002 was about 10 million acre-feet of water per year, the lowest three-year average since record keeping began in 1906. (The average annual flow is 15 million acre-feet.)

  • Southern Nevada gets nearly 90 percent of its water supply from the Colorado River, which pools behind Hoover Dam to create Lake Mead.

  • Lake Mead's water level has dropped more than 100 feet since January 2000.

  • In general, droughts are a fact of life in virtually every climate.

  • Drought affects more people than any other natural hazard.

  • Droughts result from large-scale disruptions of atmospheric circulation patterns that may persist for months or years.

  • Annual losses associated with drought have been estimated at $6 to $8 billion, making it one of the most costly natural hazards in the country.

  • The most common types of drought are meteorological, agricultural and hydrological.

  • In 1934, more than 60 percent of the nation was affected by severe to extreme drought. Recent drought years (2000 and 2002) affected about 30 to 35 percent of the country.

Watch the Video

Drought and Water Resources
Learn how Southern Nevada is conserving water, protecting groundwater and planning for the future.