AFTER years of drought Lake Mead, the source of fresh water for the holiday hotspot, has hit its lowest level and Sin City is facing its biggest crisis.
But take a trip 25 miles southeast to Lake Mead, the massive reservoir created when the Hoover Dam was built across the Colorado River, and you get a striking visual wake-up call.
All around its 760 miles of rocky shoreline is a clearly defined line that locals call the “bathtub ring”.
Above it the rocks are brown and jagged but below they are shiny white. This is where the calcium in the water has stained the rocks – and the widening band of white is a powerful sign of how fast the level is dropping.
The lake, which supplies 90 per cent of the water to the two million residents of Las Vegas and its 43 million annual visitors, has been reduced by drought to the lowest level since it was filled in 1937 and is now at 39 per cent capacity. The surface reached a record high of 1,225ft above sea level in 1983 but is now at about 1,080ft. If the level drops below 1,050ft one of the two intakes that feed water to the city will become useless. Another 50ft and the other one would fail. Continue reading →