Lake Mead, located on the Arizona-Nevada border and held back by Hoover Dam, filled in the 1980s and 1990s.
But the megadrought over the last 23 years — the most severe in centuries — has worsened the water deficit and left Lake Mead about 70% empty.
And some say they think the river’s major reservoirs probably won’t refill in our lifetimes.
Demand for Colorado River water picked up in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
The Central Arizona Project, a 336-mile-long water delivery system, brings water from the Colorado River to Arizona’s most populous counties and wasn’t completed until the 1990s.
Arizona began starting to take its full apportionment of river water in the late 1990s, and Nevada in the early 2000s.
The capacity of lakes Mead and Powell is gargantuan compared with the capacity of California’s two largest reservoirs, Shasta Lake and Lake Oroville. »