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Rains A Very Brief Reprieve From Emergency Drought Measures

Lake Mead

Recent rains haven't done much to improve the drought situation in Southern Nevada.

Will this drought ever end?

The main source of Las Vegas’ drinking water, Lake Mead, is less than half what it was 15 years ago and just three feet above a line that would trigger mandatory cuts in water supply.

The Bureau of Reclamation report this week showed some good news for the lake. It received a short boost from recent rains bringing it high enough to avoid those cuts.

But that doesn't mean Las Vegas residents can start dancing in their sprinkler systems.

Conor Shine a reporter for the Las Vegas Sun said "miracle May" is helping but the lake is still in trouble. 

"While we wouldn't feel that cut immediately here in Las Vegas because we've done such a good job of conservation already, it is troubling," Shine said. "It's one more sign that the lake is in trouble."

The rain in May and July brought only a brief reprieve. 

"Long term the lake is still on a downward trajectory," Shine said. "It has been trending that way for 15 years with this drought. So unless something changes and this drought breaks, which it has shown no sign of doing so far, the picture is still sort of grim. The lake is in jeopardy still."

Shine is doubtful that up coming El Niño weather pattern, which many people expect to bring a lot of rain to the West Coast, will make a difference to the Colorado River basin, although it could help California.






Conor Shine, reporter, Las Vegas Sun

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.