New NASA satellite images have shown historic low water levels in the largest reservoir in the United States, due to a severe drought.
The images show the impact of the drought period on Lake Mead in the American Southwest.
As of July 18, 2022, Lake Mead was only filled to 27% of its capacity – its lowest level since April 1937, when the reservoir was still full for the first time.
According to lake elevation data from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), as of July 18, 2022, the water elevation at Hoover Dam was 1,041 feet (317 m) above sea level.
While the water elevation at the end of July 2000 was nearly 1,200 feet (366 m) above sea level.
At its maximum capacity, Lake Mead would reach an elevation of 1,220 feet (372 m) near the dam.
This drop in levels across Lake Mead revealed human remains and sunken ships.
Decreasing rainfall and warming temperatures have been linked to climate change, while there has also been an increase in demand for irrigation and household water use.
This prevented reservoirs from replenishing over winter and caused water levels to drop over time.
According to the latest data from the United States Drought Monitor, 95% of western US states have experienced some form of drought this year, while 28% face extreme drought conditions.
Lake Mead was formed by the creation of the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River in 1935, a commission projected by President Herbert Hoover during the Great Depression.
The construction of the dam created thousands of jobs but cost the lives of more than 100 people.
In modern America, it serves around 25 million people in several states, including Arizona, California, and Nevada, as well as some in Mexico.
The Hoover Dam requires a water rise of 1,000 feet (305 m) to continue to operate the hydroelectric turbines at normal levels.
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