Two areas in Nevada do have drainage to the sea. In the northeast, Salmon Falls Creek, the Bruneau River, the East and South forks of the Owyhee River, and the Little Owyhee River drain into the Snake River and reach the Pacific Ocean through the Columbia River. The Muddy River, Meadow Valley Wash, and the Virgin River run into Lake Mead on the Colorado River, which drains into the Gulf of California.
The principal rivers of Nevada are the Humboldt, Truckee, Carson, Walker, Owyhee, and Colorado. The Humboldt River, Nevada’s longest, is located entirely within the state.
It begins in the desert ranges of the northeast and flows west from one basin to another until it finally ends in Humboldt Sink. The flow of this river constitutes about one-fifth of the state’s water runoff.
The Truckee, Carson, and Walker rivers flow out of the Sierra Nevada, thread their way around several of the desert ranges, and also end in closed basins. Because these three streams flow constantly, the lakes into which they empty never dry up. The Colorado River is Nevada’s most voluminous river. However, because of its position along the state’s southern boundary and the fact that its waters are shared by several states, the river has not been of primary importance to Nevada until recently. Today, the Colorado provides nearly all the water supply for Las Vegas and nearby communities.
Lake Mead, a vast reservoir, was created by damming the Colorado River near Las Vegas, along the Nevada-Arizona Border Nevada’s other permanent lakes include Washoe Lake, a few tiny lakes in the higher mountains, and Lake Tahoe. Lake Tahoe is located along the state boundary with California, at 1,897 m (6,225 ft) above sea level, in the Sierra Nevada. Thousands of years ago a large lake called Lake Lahontan covered a substantial area in northwestern Nevada. The level of its waters stood as high as 160 m (530 ft) above the present level of Pyramid Lake, as shown by wave-cut terraces on the mountainsides. Walker, Carson, and other lakes are mere remnants of the former lake. Black Rock Desert and Smoke Creek Desert were also once occupied by the lake. Encarta "Nevada" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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