Given the importance of the availability and quality of water in Lake Mead, it has become one of the most intensely sampled and studied bodies of water in the United States. As a result, data are available from sampling stations across the lake (fig. 4-1 and see U.S. Geological Survey Automated Water-Quality Platforms) to provide information on past and current (2012) water-quality conditions and on invasive species that influence—and are affected by—water quality. Water quality in Lakes Mead and Mohave generally exceeds standards set by the State of Nevada to protect water supplies for public uses: drinking water, aquatic ecosystem health, recreation, or agricultural irrigation. In comparison to other reservoirs studied by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) for a national lake assessment (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2010), Lake Mead is well within the highest or ‘good’ category for recreation and aquatic health (see U.S. Environmental Protection Agency National Lakes Assessment and Lake Mead for more details). While a small part of the lake, particularly Las Vegas Bay, is locally influenced by runoff from urbanized tributaries such as Las Vegas Wash, contaminant loading in the lake as a whole is low compared to other reservoirs in the nation, which are influenced by runoff from more heavily urbanized watersheds (Rosen and Van Metre, 2010).
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Lake water quality: Chapter 4 in A synthesis of aquatic science for management of Lakes Mead and Mohave