Lake Mead has been at the receiving end of a decades-long drought that hit its surrounding region. But this year, its fortunes have changed remarkably. Surprisingly, a submerging boat caught in a video has become the biggest proof of the lake’s recovery.
After losing tens of feet of water last year, Lake Mead pulled off a stunning comeback this year. Now, the lake has gotten back to the level it was a year ago, defying the government’s pessimistic predictions of a 30-foot drop.
The lake owes its unexpected revival to the Colorado Rockies’ melting snowpack. The excess water from the melted snow was what the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation transferred from Lake Powell to Lake Mead in its High Flow Experiment (HFE).
This intervention is a remarkable achievement. Years of government intervention have been largely unfruitful, even with the National Park Service pumping close to $50 million into the endeavor.
Indeed, since 2000 when the first signs of the “megadrought” began to surface, lots of efforts have been invested to keep tourism activity alive. These include a series of extensions and relocations of boat launching ramps aimed at chasing down the receding water lines.
Longtime residents of the nearby Boulder City will give the best account of the lake’s decline over the years. One of them, Joyce DiManno, told newsmen of the awesome memories she had made during the lake’s good times. She produced loads of photos of her, her husband, and her friends boating and skiing on the lake on weekends.
Unfortunately, they’ve spent the last 5 years seeing the nation’s first national recreation area become a shadow of itself. “It’s amazing to just see the water continue to disappear from our front yard,” she said.
As the water level continued to drop, it revealed formerly submerged items prominent among which was a shipwrecked speedboat. This boat which stood almost completely vertically, has since become an indicator of both the lake’s rise and decline.
It was one Travis Pardee who first documented the boat’s sighting while swimming alongside his kids in May last year. By September last year, the boat was several feet out of the water with its stern buried in hardened mud.
After a few months of water supply, the lake is getting itself back. Just last week, a video surfaced online showing the boat almost submerged by the lake’s greenish water with only its tip sticking out.
The video was shot by Sean DeFrank, a social media creator who described just how refreshing it was to see so much progress in the lake’s recovery.
In the video, DeFrank can be heard narrating how the boat used to be “many feet away from the water.” The video also showed that someone had tied a pole at the end of the boat to indicate how much above the boat the water would rise as things continued to improve.
For previous visitors to the lake who have since lost hope, many of whom, like DiManno, have sold their boats, it is more than enough reason to smile.