Lake Mead low water level and Hoover dam power production


Hi there! Today I am yet again going to take a look at the water level in Lake Mead, but I am also taking a look at how that has affected the production of electricity at Hoover Dam. But first, let’s power up the intro! Now I had planned to spend the weekend editing the big final video in my series of our mountain bike trip to Sedona in October, but then I discovered that some people actually had started watching the video I made in April on the water level in lake Mead and my visit to Hoover Dam so I figured I would do an update to that instead and perhaps expand on some on the information. So if you are coming from that video then, hi, welcome back! And if not, I’ll put a link in the description below and at the end of this video as well. It was perhaps more fancy video of this will be but this has some more information, so they are kind of complementing each other nicely. On our way home from the vacation in October that just talked about, we briefly stopped by Hoover Dam again and I shot some video thinking that I could use it to compare with the other two videos that I have shot there so far. But then I realized that just showing the water level doesn’t really tell us more than it yeah it’s bad, but we can’t see how much electricity that they’ve been able to produce despite the low water level. So I have done a bit of googling and found some data that i entered into a spreadsheet, so we can get a more clear picture. But before we take a look at that, here’s a bit of background information useful to know first. If what I am reading is correct, the turbines in Hoover Dam has undergoing an overhaul since 1999. The 17 turbines were installed in a time span from 1936 to 1961, and this overhaul meant that with new technology and knowledge, the performance have been improved and they are now operating more efficient. One example could be that they have managed to reduce the cavitation in the turbines which is forming of pockets of water free zones, you could also call it bubbles. Cavitation causes wear in the turbines and really do not want to have too much wearing your machinery down. Now that turbines run more efficient, the elevation of lake Mead can now go all the way down to 950 feet, and they are still able to produce electricity all the way down to that level. That’s compared to the old configurations which kept the low-level at about 1072 to 1015 feet depending on where we about it. And these two numbers are interesting when we take a look at what’s going on right now with the water level. So let’s take a look at those numbers! The blue line here shows the elevation of lake Mead and the green line shows the production of electricity. It’s interesting to know that the elevation in 2016 almost reached the old lower limit I talked about earlier, but with the new lower level of 950 feet I suppose there’s still a bit of spare capacity left in case of an emergency where the power plant somewhere would go offline and they would have to cover that production for a little while I suppose. In 2015 the dam produced 3.6 terawatt-hours and I have tried to add numbers for this year so far and if I assume that they will produce the same amount of power in December as last year, well the production would be a somewhat around the same as last year also about report 3.5 – 3.6 terawatt-hours Now if we take a few other years in comparison for example 2000, where the elevation reached 1219 feet, they produced about five terawatt hours of electricity. And in the record year, 1984, they will water level reached the spillways due to flood the year before that and they produced around 10.3 terawatt-hours of electricity. So it seems like they’re just about almost down to a third of the best year until now. well it looks like they ended up being a somewhat fancy video after all. If you want to see other video I made about Hoover Dam I’ll put a link in the description below, and in the upper left corner. Until next time, have fun on the interwebs!

23 thoughts on “Lake Mead low water level and Hoover dam power production

  1. Please don't forget to comment or press like. It helps me a lot more than you think.
    Check out the first video I made on the low water level at Lake Mead. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDJwYgAJImg

  2. Hey! Your videos are getting so much better than they used to be!! 😀 Now what I would say is maybe work on your commentary side of things like your voice but yeah! 😀 Maybe you could see my content? I do similar videos! I know I have only uploaded 2 times but I really hope u like my content! It would be awesome if you could leave a like on my videos and even a comment?! Please leave me feedback on my videos as I did the same for you!! I hope you have an awesome day! Stay HYPERZ!!

  3. Looking at your chart:

    The water level drops when the power production goes up.
    Well, it takes more water to make more electricity.
    The production level goes up in the hot summer months to meet the demand to power all the air conditioning units in Las Vegas.
    They aren't making all the electricity they can, just what they need at the time.

  4. great video, loved it. But just a bit of advice: don't intro your intro

  5. Martin J, Thanks for the info! Always looking to see what is happening in my home state. That Lake was the MAIN Event back in the early 70s now it has been destroyed from SPRAWL! Left town in 1991 because of all the people flooding the city. Las Vegas will Never be the same again. Harry Reid killed Vegas.

  6. People tend to greatly overestimate how much power the can could ever produce. The tour guides will tell you "it's enough to cover the cost of operating the dam". But that's when it's going full blast. At present only ONE turbine is operating.

    They make more money selling tour tickets than electricity. That's a fact. (And explains why the tickets are so outrageously expensive.)

    Electricity is a mere byproduct. The dam exists for flood control and to provide water for irrigation.

  7. Tak for endnu en informative video om Hoover dæmningen, meget interessant vinkel du tog.

  8. Become a Lake Mead water level denier. It's really easy, just believe the lake is overflowing and all will be well. One day reality will bite all the delusional morons, and bite them hard.

  9. Under its original design, the dam will no longer be able to generate power once the water level falls below 1,050 feet (320 m), The water level here is at 1,076 feet ASL and about 38% full. The water level is dropping about 3 feet per month. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoover_Dam#Power_plant_and_water_demands
    Colorado has the water rights from a 150 yr old agreement. So they are taking 60% of the head water before it leaves the Rockies and piping it thru the mountains to Denver and other Front Range cities, with construction under way to add more pipes to increase that to 80 %. So the Colorado water stays in Colorado. Everyone down stream is SOL. The Army Corp of Engineering can only give advice similar to the NTSB. It's Dog eat Dog time….. Not global warming going on here, just plain Greed……

  10. I’ve been to Vegas many many times when come into Vegas on an airplane I’ve seen the water lever down down Vegas is doomed you can’t build these huge casinos in a desert oh think about all these people flushing toilets what a waste

  11. The information you provide, despite it's age, is more valuable than you know.
    Thank you for your time and efforts in bringing this to a more public forum.
    It is curious why the drop in production, regardless of the water level.

    My first thought would be that demand is less now than it was in 1984 given that nearly every light bulb in 1984 was incandescent where now all light sources are almost exclusively LED or florescent. And in the case of LED, 60, 1984 'incandescent-watts' can be replicated with just 14, 2012 LED-watts. That's more than 4x as efficient as incandescent. Of course it doesn't mean the power bill is 4x less today. Hmmm

    And considering all the efficiency advancements in most electric/electrical/electronic devices today, sure, even despite the much greater number of devices than in 1984, I bet it's a 2 to 1 increase in savings.

    That said, let's go the other way and just assume the 10TWHrs figure from 1984 – in terms of demand – is still there today, but Hoover isn't filling the entire bill @ 3.6TWHrs. What and where are the other sources of power to fill the gap, ehh? Fossil, solar, wind, hydro, geo-thermal, nuclear?

    Do you cover other parts of the overall hydro system in that area? Thankfully, Hoover dam is 'just' one important piece of a multi-state hydro-control system positioned in precipitous places whereby a large percentage of surface water can be harnessed and directed toward areas where it is contained and used in a measured fashion.

    For the last 2 decades, much of the precipitation is falling in areas W, E, and S of the hydro system that feeds Lake Mead. Eventually, some may reach Mead, but for the most part other hydro systems have been tasked to fill the gap – tho at considerably higher-than-normal load demands.

    I for one hope the weather patterns shift back and fill Mead once again for another 5 decades.

  12. california is apart of the problem instead of returning water to the ocean they should be returning it to lake mead

  13. Any thought that the Dam might be compromised and they had to lower the water?

  14. I've lost count of the times I've been right here on the sidewalk looking over the wall at the water churning through the dam. Living out there 35 years gave me so many opportunities to do so. I watched the Maintenance men replace turbines and doing regular maintenance on the dam. Wonderful memories. About all the info I have has been taken back in the mid-70s so it wouldn't do much good to anyone. Thank's for sharing this video, I enjoyed it.

  15. We forgot lake powl feeds lake mead, it good on water, I lived in Colorado next to the river, we had record floods on the river, all the lakes r good that feed the river,
    I believe from 2000 to 2010, they had planned to lower the water level n build a new bridge, to take the tress from the dam, they had 1930 concrete technology, the concrete of today is a lot stronger, I think there is not a water shortage, California farmers use more than any thing, n vegas uses a lot,
    My opinion the hover dam was getting old n weeker, so it best to lower the water level, n build a new n better bridge.
    The Glenn canyon dam is stronger, has had erosion in been fixed now to handle large amounts of water, in can handles the water that that the hoover dam cannot, I believe Glenn canyon dam, is around 2ft below level, it has too drop in level to handle the snow fall melt.

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