While CVB officials in Lake Havasu City usually compete with businesses around Lake Mead and Lake Powell for tourist dollars, there’s one thing about those upstream attractions they’re happy about: water. Lots of water.
Water for Lake Havasu remains consistent despite an unusually warm March, lower mountain snowpack and estimates that 2012 will be the second-driest year the Colorado River has seen since the drought began in 2000.
While Mead and Powell are down this year by 80 to 100 feet, Lake Havasu remains among best boating lakes, showing just a few feet of variation due to its design.
Lakes Mead and Powell are drawn up or down as needed to supply water further south. According to Rose Davis, Lower Colorado Region public affairs officer for the Bureau of Reclamation in Boulder City, Nev., “We draw down Powell first to feed Mead, and then Mead supplies Lake Havasu to guarantee sufficient water for cities in southern California and elsewhere in Arizona.”
Davis continues, “Lake Havasu is an important part of the whole Colorado River system. Recreation, ecology and economics are all factors in maintaining a consistent lake level through careful management of upstream releases.”
Lake Havasu is thus one of the last places on the Colorado River system subject to water fluctuations. This bodes well for boaters, paddlers, sailors and anglers planning a summer vacation in the Lake Havasu City region. Water sports enthusiasts will also benefit from new dredging that increases navigation on Lake Havasu to over 60 miles from Needles in the north to the Bill Williams National Wildlife Refuge to the south; a Designated Operator program that encourages safe boating; and recently installed buoys marking new no-wake zones, according to Jim Salscheider, president and CEO of the Lake Havasu City Marine Association ( www.lhmarineassn.com ).
Douglas Traub, president and CEO of the Lake Havasu City CVB, adds, “It’s as if one of the most sophisticated river management systems in the world was designed for people to have fun here on the water.”
Dredging Today Staff, May 18, 2012; Image: londonbridgemarine