LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- The first thing many visitors to Lake Mead notice is the bathtub ring around it.
Lake levels have been declining for years because of the drought.
The water level could soon reach a level that will set off alarms.
The federal government announced Friday that it will not release less water from Lake Powell, about 750,000 acre feet less during 2014 -- and the lowest level since it was created in 1963. That means that in the years ahead, Southern Nevadans was well as those in other states others could be forced to ration water.
Our valley’s source of water, Lake Mead, is in crisis now and new figures from the Bureau of Reclamation released Friday tell a disturbing story.
The Bureau of Reclamation performs a continuous juggling act of balancing water levels between two crucial sources of water -- Lake Powell and Lake Mead.
“They are the most important storage reservoirs, the largest storage reservoirs on the Colorado River and they are doing in a drought really what they are supposed to do, which means we are not running out of water,” said Rose Davis, speaking for the bureau.
Not yet anyway.
Along the lower Colorado River that includes water distribution to Arizona, California and Mexico, in addition to Nevada.
J.C. Davis of the Southern Nevada Water Authority said the SNWA has implemented strong conservation programs, but that isn't enough.
"In the last decade we’ve added 400,000 people to the population before the economy crashed, and we use 28 billion less gallons of water now than we did a decade ago,” Davis said.
Barring a climatic reversal, SNWA sees regional cooperation as the only viable hope for avoiding a water-loss apocalypse.
“Remember, Las Vegas only gets 1.8 percent of the river-we are a very small player -- but we can work with the other states, and we already are to see how much water we can keep in Lake Mead
“If you took Las Vegas and wiped it off the face of the planet you'd only save about 2 and a half feet a year in Lake Mead, and Lake Mead is expected to lose about 30 feet next year.