Water levels rising at Lake Mead - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Water levels rising at Lake Mead

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Boaters enjoy Saturday afternoon on Lake Mead Boaters enjoy Saturday afternoon on Lake Mead

The water level at Lake Mead has risen nearly 30 feet since November, 2010 when it reached a near-record low.

Dozens of boaters spent Saturday afternoon on the lake, and most remember what it was like when the symbolic "bathtub ring" was more prevalent.

"Big difference," said Anthony Sanchez, a Las Vegas resident boating on the lake. "I thought it was going to go lower this year."

Fortunately for Sanchez and other lake-loving Las Vegans, the reservoir has gone up 29 feet since last November. During that month, the water reached a low-point of 1,081.9 feet.

The lowest point on-record was in 1937, soon after the lake began re-filling with the opening of Hoover Dam. In February, 1937 the water level dipped to 1,021.9 feet.

In recent years, more boat ramps were constructed to accommodate lower levels, but there isn't much use for them this summer.

The one thing to watch out for is more brush and rocks just under the surface. Many boaters became accustomed to the low water level, and now have to adjust.

"I got used to all the coves and beaches," said James Hughes. "Now that the lake has gone up 30 feet, that's disappearing."

The higher lake levels this year are great news for frequent boaters, but some areas are still struggling. The boat launch in Overton, Nev. is still closed because of low water.

"It's really cut down on business," said Ralph Spencer, owner of The Inside Scoop ice cream shop.

Spencer's store has seen better days when the lake was full, but he's confident it won't be too long before the glory days return.

"This past year it got down to 1937 levels, and 2 years after, it started filling," he said. "I'm looking forward to it coming up more in the next 2-3 years."

According to the Southern Nevada Water Authority, Lake Mead is currently at 48% capacity. Officials expect water levels to continue rising through the end of the year, when capacity could reach 57% (1,133 feet).

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