Lake Mead water level drops to 1,040 feet, dead pool level gets closer

Lake Mead’s water levels have dropped to 1,040 feet, getting closer and closer to the dead pool level.

Lake Mead, a reservoir formed by the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River, is drying up because of the ongoing drought in the western United States. It stretches across Nevada and Arizona.

According to new data from Lakes Online, on July 28 at 4 am local time, Lake Mead had dropped to 1,040 feet. In early 2022, the lake was at 1,066 feet.

Levels have declined rapidly over the past two years. In early 2020, levels were at 1,090, while in early 2021, levels were at 1,083.

The water flowing through the Hoover Dam provides electricity to hundreds of thousands of people living in the area. However, as the drought continues and the water continues to dry up, there is a danger that the dam’s turbines will no longer be able to generate power.

Lake Mead
A photo shows the damage caused by drought on Lake Mead. Some parts of the lake are completely dry.

As the lake continues to approach the level of the dead pool, experts remain concerned.

Steph McAfee, associate professor and Nevada state climatologist at the University of Nevada, Reno, previously said newsweek that if Lake Mead reached 895 feet, the water would no longer “go through the dam”, which is considered the dead well level.

“If it gets to that point, water levels could still drop due to evaporation,” McAfee said.

McAfee also said that “there is good evidence to suggest that climate change is playing a role.”

“Several scientific papers have found that rising temperatures are reducing the amount of water flowing down the Colorado River and into Lake Mead. There have been some papers by Parks Williams and colleagues suggesting that climate change is not half the contribution to this. This research noted that it would still be a drought without higher temperatures, but not too bad,” she said.

According to the US Drought Monitor, more than 20% of the land in the western US was determined to be in an “extreme or exceptional drought” as of March 8, 2022. The last time Lake Mead’s water levels were so low was in 1937.

While not the only body of water affected, Lake Mead has drawn global attention due to the mysterious discoveries being made as the water continues to evaporate.

In May, when the bottom of the lake was exposed, human skeletal remains were discovered at the bottom of a barrel. The remains were believed to be a shooting victim from the mid-1970s or 1980s.

Another set of human remains was also discovered earlier this week.

Other finds, such as shipwrecks, were also explored.

newsweek contacted Lakes Online.

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