Lake Mead is a reservoir formed by the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River in the Southwestern United States. It is located in the states of Nevada and Arizona, 24 mi (39 km) east of Las Vegas. It is the largest reservoir in the US in terms of water capacity. Lake Mead provides water to the states of Arizona, California, and Nevada as well as some of Mexico, providing sustenance to nearly 20 million people and large areas of farmland.
At maximum capacity, Lake Mead is 112 miles (180 km) long and 532 feet (162 m) at its greatest depth. Lake Mead has a surface elevation of 1,229 feet (375 m) above sea level. The surface area is 247 square miles (640 km2), and Lake Mead contains 28.23 million acre-feet (34,820,000 megaliters) of water.
The lake has remained below full capacity since 1983 due to drought and increased water demand. As of 16 March 2022, Lake Mead held 31.01% of full capacity at 8.753 million acre-feet (10,797,000 megaliters), dropping below the reservoir's previous all-time low of 9.328 million acre-feet (11,506,000 megaliters) recorded in July 2016. In a draft 2022 Colorado River annual operating plan, released by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, a "Shortage Condition" is expected to be declared for 2022, due to the lake level falling below 1,075 feet (327.7 m), which will result in a projected 4.44% curtailment in downstream water delivery.