Lahontan water level extremely low due to drought conditions

Lahontan water level extremely low due to drought conditions
The Lahontan Reservoir is fed by the Carson River and by the Truckee River with water diversions from the Derby Dam, supplying water for irrigation. Pictured here in 2014, in the third year of a four-year drought, much of the lake was completely dry. Image: UNR

SILVER SPRINGS – The water level at Lahontan State Recreation Area is less than 4% of what it was in 2020, measuring 3,974 acre-feet as of Aug. 20. In August 2020 the reservoir held just under 111,000 acre-feet of water, and more than double that in 2019 with 239,000 acre-feet.

Minimum pool level for the reservoir—the lowest level from which water would be withdrawn under ordinary conditions—is about 5,000 acre-feet of water.

Nevada State Parks officials said boating in the reservoir isn’t advised. Swimming may be difficult as well. Most access points are difficult to reach, and the Silver Springs side of the park doesn’t have any swimmable water.  

“Visitors should use caution while driving, as areas of deep sand and mud are present, and the top layer may look dry while the layers below remain wet,” parks officials added.

(Below, drone footage of Lahontan Reservoir courtesy Nevada State Parks.)

Last winter’s below average snowpack has led to drought conditions throughout the state. The Carson River, which feeds into the reservoir, has had reduced stream flows this year.

Officials said they don’t expect the water level to rise until this fall, at the earliest, if heavy rains arrive or the coming winter’s snowpack improves.

To find an alternative state park with water recreation opportunities, visit

Conditions at Lahontan State Recreation Area are always changing. For current updates, visit follow on Facebook or call (775) 577-2226.

Source: Nevada State Parks