Dynamic Simulation of Lake Mead Water Levels in Response to Climate Change and Varying Demands

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2018

Publisher Location

Minneapolis, Minnesota


With the records of recent decline in water level of Lake Mead, for the operation and management of lake it is important to consider the full range of future scenarios involving climate change and water demand due to increasing population. This study evaluates the effect of climate change and varying waterdemands on Lake Mead storage and water levels. It deals with the various dynamic variables such as metrological and socio-economic factors that impact the water storage capacity at Lake Mead and estimates what the lake storage and water levels would be in future by varying these parameters over a wide range. A system dynamics tool STELLA was used to develop the model, which simulated the historic, present, and future Lake Mead levels in response to changing inflows and outflows. System dynamics is a computer-aided approach used in studying complex systems by analyzing the interaction between various elements within that system. Climatic parameters that affect the water volume were integrated into the model using secondary data and model was calibrated. The results indicate that by using the calibrated model and applying the forecasted inflow for the simulation period, the shortage criteria and dam water regulation guidelines, we will be able to anticipate the water level changes at Lake Mead and assess what management scenarios will allow the water levels in the Lake Mead to be maintained at a higher level than what it has experienced during the recent droughts.


Climate | Fresh Water Studies | Hydrology



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