Nevada's Lake Mead falls To historic low water levels

A 'bathtub ring' of mineral deposits left by higher water levels is visible at the drought-stricken Lake Mead on June 24 in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Arizona. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation reported that Lake Mead, North America's largest artificial reservoir, has dropped to about 1,044 feet above sea level, the lowest it's been since being filled in 1937 after the construction of the Hoover Dam. The declining water levels are a result of a climate change-fueled megadrought coupled with increased water demands in the Southwestern United States. Fears are increasing that Lake Mead could in years ahead become a "dead pool," when the water levels become too low to flow downstream from nearby Hoover Dam.

Faced with deep cuts to the water supply, and angry that other states are not doing their share, tribes and local governments in Arizona are increasingly talking about backing off earlier offers to give up some water.

The Gila River Indian Community said in August that it will begin storing water underground “rather than contributing them to system conservation programs for Lake Mead.”

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