Scientist: No benefit to filling Mead first


Well-Known Member
The possibility that it would prove beneficial to send more water from Lake Powell downstream to Lake Mead is muddier than the Colorado River through the Grand Valley in springtime, said a Utah State University professor who has studied the reservoirs.

The “fill Mead first” idea is lacking in significant science and “could do more harm than good to the Grand Canyon,” said Jack Schmidt, watershed sciences professor at Utah State.

One study has said that some 300,000 acre-feet of water could be saved by filling Mead first.

There are, however, “enormous uncertainties with the estimates of water savings,” Schmidt said in an interview at the Ruth Powell Hutchins Water Center’s sixth-annual Upper Colorado River Basin Forum at Colorado Mesa University, which is continuing today.

One of the major unknowns that underlie questions about the “fill Mead first” idea is the still unresolved issue about which reservoir suffers greater water loss to evaporation.

Gem Morris

Well-Known Member
"It’s generally considered that Mead, with apparently greater surface area and lower elevation, would suffer more losses from evaporation, but there are no state-of-the-science studies to confirm that, Schmidt said."


Maybe we need a "state-of-the-science" fully funded (by tax payer dollars) study to confirm that the sun will come up tomorrow since it is the thing that causes evaporation. If you really want to re-think every single scientific principle that has already been proven then let's start at the beginning, right?

Give me a break!

Bill Sampson

Well-Known Member
Because of driving distance, and time off restrictions, I spend 4 to 5 weekends a year at Lake Mead in the summer. I have seen it in the 120's at Sandy Point in July, and in the one teens at Temple Bar on any given summer day. Compare those temperatures to Powell.


Staff member
If you just compare daytime air temperatures from both lakes, you can see that Lake Mead is considerably warmer, thus more evaporation. There, I jut saved the government millions of dollars for a study.

Mead has double the evaporation, which the drainers have all ignored in their zeal to find a reason to drain Powell and fill Mead... They claim too much water soaks into the sandstone at Powell, ignoring that it gives it back in down-years and when it is up they know for a fact the wells on the Navajo reservation fill iup and they drop in the years Powell drops, so the system is working actually quite well.