Lake Havasu is a reservoir on the Colorado River that supplies water to the Colorado River Aqueduct and Central Arizona Project. It is located at the California/Arizona border, approximately 150 miles southeast of Las Vegas, Nevada and 30 miles southeast of Needles, California.
Lake Mead is the main reservoir formed by Hoover Dam in Southern Nevada.
Created in the 1930s as part of Hoover Dam [see also Elwood Mead], Lake Mead provides water storage in the Lower Basin of the Colorado River. The reservoir can hold 28,945,000 acre-feet’s capacity and at 248 square miles its capacity is the largest in United States.
Most of the water in Lake Mead is drawn from Rocky Mountain snowmelt and runoff.
The construction of Glen Canyon Dam in 1964 created Lake Powell. Both are located in north-central Arizona near the Utah border. Lake Powell acts as a holding tank for outflow from the Colorado River Upper Basin States: Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.
The water stored in Lake Powell is used for recreation, power generation and delivering water to the Lower Basin states of California, Arizona, and New Mexico.
World renowned for its crystal clear, azure water, Lake Tahoe straddles the Nevada-California border.
At 1,645 feet, it is the second deepest lake in the United States and the 10th deepest in the world. Lake Tahoe sits 6,225 feet above sea level, and is 22 miles long and 12 miles wide.
Approximately 40 percent of the Tahoe Basin’s rain and snow fall directly into the lake, contributing to Lake Tahoe’s legendary clarity. The remaining precipitation drains through granitic soils, which are relatively sterile and create a good filtering system.
Land retirement is a practice that takes agricultural lands out of production due to poor drainage and soils containing high levels of salt and selenium (a mineral found in soil).
Typically, landowners are paid to retire land. The purchaser, often a local water district, then places a deed restriction on the land to prevent growing crops with irrigation water (a source of salt). Growers in some cases may continue to farm using rain water, a method known as dry farming.
Land subsidence is the lowering of the land-surface elevation due to changes that take place underground.
Throughout California, subsidence has damaged buildings, aqueducts, well casings, bridges and highways. Common causes include pumping water, oil or gas, dissolution of limestone aquifers known as sinkholes, drainage of organic soils and initial wetting of dry soils, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The Landsat satellite program is a series of Earth-observing satellite missions jointly managed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the U.S. Geological Survey. Launched in 1972, Landsat is the longest continuous global record of Earth observations. Landsat data is used to evaluate agricultural production.
Lee Ferry on the Arizona-Utah border is a key dividing point between the Colorado River’s Upper and Lower basins.
This split is important when it comes to determining how much water will be delivered from the Upper Basin to the Lower Basin [for a description of the Upper and Lower basins visit the Colorado River page].
California would not exist as it does today were it not for the extensive system of levees, weirs and flood bypasses that have been built through the years, particularly in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
These levees have been in place dating back to 1850, when California first joined the union.
The Owens Valley in eastern California helped transform distant Los Angeles to today’s sprawling megalopolis.
Roughly 100 years ago, Los Angeles recognized the need to augment local water supplies and decided to tap faraway sources.
In 1905, the city of Los Angeles filed for water rights on the Owens River in the eastern Sierra Nevada, 250 miles away. Municipal crews began work on a 233-mile aqueduct capable of delivering four times more water than the city then required.
The Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program aims to balance use of Colorado River water resources with the conservation of native species and their habitat. A key component of this process is restoring approximately 1,200 acres of riparian and marsh habitats along the lower Colorado River.