Hoover Dam Reservoir Water Level

The depth of the water in front of the Hoover Dam has varied over the years, largely impacted by the depth of Lake Mead, which has been on a fairly steady decline recently. What is the latest Hoover Dam Reservoir Water Level?

On average, the depth of the water in front of the Hoover Dam is around 350 ft. The depth varies depending on the water level in Lake Mead, which is the reservoir formed by the dam. The depth may be significantly less during low H2O levels. Last Reading  04/08/2024 was at 1074.66 ft. above Sea Level

Completed in 1936, the Hoover Dam stood as the tallest dam in the world at the time, rising 726 feet above the Colorado River.


The iconic Hoover Dam, a titan of concrete and engineering marvel, confronts a harrowing reality. Its lifeblood, Lake Mead, languishes at unprecedented lows, revealing a stark tableau of bleached rock and the dire consequences of unrelenting drought. This spectacle, manifesting amidst the climate calamity, highlights the urgency for discourse. In this exposé, we plunge into the depths of Lake Mead’s receding waters, exploring the rippling impacts of this historic descent on the environment, energy, and human sustenance.


Impact of Low Water Level on Hoover Dam Reservoir Area


The Lake Mead low water scenario is painting a stark testament to environmental challenges in the Western states. The Hoover Dam reservoir, a once mighty storehouse of water, is experiencing a historic shrinkage, leaving Lake Mead low on supplies that millions of people rely upon.

The water level’s stumble impacts not only the water reservoir’s efficiency but also the very fabric of the surrounding regions. In the face of this Mead low water crisis, the low water level troubles both Arizona and Nevada, including Las Vegas, highlighting the Colorado River’s vital role in sustaining life and recreation areas. Amidst the rocky terrains and sweeping views, the reservoir’s dwindling capacity serves as a dire warning – the high water levels once taken for granted, are now a distant memory.

Residents and visitors to the famed USA Hoover Marvel, which straddles these states, note the stark contrast in the dam lake interface; where blue once dominated, now a tapestry of previously submerged land emerges. The level Hoover sustains is critical for energy production, yet the level at the lake struggles to create a cascade of limitations.

Elsewhere, the thirsty earth bemoans the level of water decrease; a source of life and joy, turning from a roaring expanse to a solemn whisper under the shadows of the once-distant mountains. The Mead Nevada area faces inherent transformations as the recreational hotspots adjust to the low water tableau and the adjoining recreation area adapts to the sobering new normal.

With the dam’s silhouette cut against the sky, the conversation turns to sustainability and conservation efforts. As levels drop, the consensus is clear that collective action is needed to manage these vital waters – the lifeblood of the reservoir. Conservation echoes through the Lake Mead basin, a call amplified by each echo across the Mead waters, seeking to restore balance and ensure that water remains an enduring presence for all people drawn to the majesty of the dam and the lucrative Hoover waters that sustain the soul of the West.

Description Elevation (ft)
Top of Dam – Maximum designed water-surface elevation 1,229.0
Full Pool – Operational Capacity 1,219.0
SNWA Intake No. 1 – Dam intake tower’s upper gates 1,050.0
Inactive Pool – Minimum elevation for power generation 950.0
Dead Pool – Lowest water outlet, Dam intake towers’ lower gates 895.0
Dead Storage- No water can be released downstream of Hoover Dam 849.0


Water levels in the Lake Mead reservoir behind the Hoover Dam have a direct impact on the dam’s ability to operate. The dam’s hydroelectric power generation relies on a sufficient water head, or difference in water level, to drive the turbines that generate electricity. As the water level in the lake drops, the dam won’t be able to generate as much electricity.

When BOR releases weekly and monthly hydrology data, they are reporting on what is commonly known as “live storage capacity,” which ranges in elevation from 895 feet to 1,219.6 feet. Water elevations ranging from 1,219.6 feet up to 1,229.0 feet are referred to as “full pool” and represent the Dam’s exclusive flood control space, as the Colorado River naturally fluctuates over time.

A water elevation of 950.0 feet, or 8% of live capacity, is the minimum level of water needed to generate power at Hoover Dam. Water elevations between 950.0 feet to 895.0 feet is considered “inactive pool” because water can be released from the dam downstream but does not generate hydropower. Water capacity at 895.0 feet elevation is considered a “dead pool,” which is when downstream releases from Hoover Dam are no longer possible.

Exploring the Hoover Dam’s Construction History


The Hoover Dam stands as an iconic marvel of engineering, its construction a testament to human ingenuity and determination. The project began during the Great Depression, with the primary goal of harnessing the power of the Colorado River for irrigation and electricity generation.

View of Hoover Dam
View of Hoover Dam

Construction of the dam commenced in 1931 under the leadership of the Bureau of Reclamation. The site chosen for the dam was Black Canyon, a location that provided optimal conditions for containing the immense volume of water from the Colorado River. The dam was named after President Herbert Hoover, who played a crucial role in its early planning and development.

The sheer scale of the project was unprecedented at the time. Thousands of workers, often referred to as “Hoover Dam workers” or “Six Companies” (the consortium of construction companies involved), toiled under challenging conditions to bring this colossal structure to life. The construction process involved diverting the Colorado River through tunnels, allowing the dam’s foundation to be laid.

One of the remarkable features of the Hoover Dam is its use of concrete. The dam comprises over 3.25 million cubic yards of concrete, a massive undertaking considering the technology available in the 1930s. The concrete was poured in individual blocks, each with its cooling system to prevent excessive heat during the curing process.

Completed in 1936, the Hoover Dam stood as the tallest dam in the world at the time, rising 726 feet above the Colorado River. Its arch-gravity design was a pioneering engineering concept, providing stability and strength against the immense pressure exerted by the water.

Beyond its structural significance, the Hoover Dam symbolizes resilience during challenging times. Its construction provided employment opportunities during the Great Depression and continues to serve as a vital source of hydroelectric power and water management. The dam remains a testament to human achievement, blending functionality with breathtaking architectural prowess.


In the arid expanse of the American Southwest, the dwindling waters of Lake Mead narrate a chronicle of environmental urgency. The Hoover Dam reservoir’s historic low compels us to confront our water consumption practices and adapt to an ever-changing climate. As policymakers and communities grapple with the ramifications, the receding shoreline of Lake Mead serves as a stark reminder of our responsibility to safeguard natural resources for future generations. The collective response to this hydrological challenge will be a testament to human ingenuity and our capacity to harmonize with the rhythms of nature.


JimGalloway Author/Editor


National Park Service-Storage Capacity at Lake Meade

Bureau of Reclamation- Hoover Dam


Q: What are the current conditions of Lake Mead and Hoover Dam?
A: Lake Mead is experiencing historic lows, with its waters receding to reveal a stark landscape of bleached rock, indicative of severe drought. The Hoover Dam, reliant on Lake Mead, faces crucial challenges in maintaining water supply and energy production.
Q: How does the low water level in Lake Mead affect nearby states?
A: The decreasing water level of Lake Mead has significant repercussions for Arizona and Nevada, including the Las Vegas area. It affects water reservoir efficiency, and energy production capacity, and poses serious concerns for regional sustenance and recreation.
Q: What is the significance of the Hoover Dam’s low water levels on energy production?
A: As water levels drop, the ability of Hoover Dam to produce energy is compromised, leading to a chain of limitations for the region. Less water means less hydraulic force to turn the turbines that generate electricity.
Q: Are the recreation areas around Lake Mead affected by the low water levels?
A: Yes, the recreational hotspots in and around Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam area have had to adjust to the low water tableau. This includes alterations to boat launches, marinas, and other facilities that support water-based activities.
Q: What actions are being taken or suggested to address the water level crisis at Lake Mead and Hoover Dam?
A: Discussions have shifted towards sustainability and conservation efforts, emphasizing the urgent need for collective action to manage and preserve the vital waters of Lake Mead and Hoover Dam to ensure their continued presence for future use.


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