Lake Mead is one of a series of large Colorado River reservoirs operated and maintained by the Bureau of Reclamation. The Colorado River system of reservoirs and diversions is an important source of water for millions of people in seven Western States and Mexico. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation, conducted a study from 1997 to 1999 to estimate evaporation from Lake Mead. For this study, micrometeorological and hydrologic data were collected continually from instrumented platforms deployed at four locations on the lake, open-water areas of Boulder Basin, Virgin Basin, and Overton Arm and a protected cove in Boulder Basin. Data collected at the platforms were used to estimate Lake Mead evaporation by solving an energy-budget equation. The average annual evaporation rate at open-water stations from January 1998 to December 1999 was 7.5 feet. Because the spatial variation of monthly and annual evaporation rates was minimal for the open-water stations, a single open-water station in Boulder Basin would provide data that are adequate to estimate evaporation from Lake Mead.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Evaporation from Lake Mead, Arizona and Nevada, 1997-99