Lake Mead’s rapidly falling water level can be seen in photographs over time.
For the past year, the reservoir formed by the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River has garnered national attention amid fears it could be dead in just a few years.
Deadpool, which is below 895 feet, is the level at which water would no longer flow over the dam, meaning it could no longer provide electricity to hundreds of thousands of people who depend on it.
The lake’s falling water level is attributed to the mega drought in the southwestern United States. This drought stretch has been drier than any other in the US in the past 1,200 years. Scientists attribute this mainly to human-caused climate change.
The dry weather has resulted in seasonal rains, and melting snowpack has not replenished the lake as fast as the water is being used.
The effects of the drought can be clearly seen on satellite images and photos. Images shared by NASA’s Earth Observatory show side-by-side images of Lake Mead from July 6, 2000 and July 3, 2022.
On July 3, 2022, the lake appeared noticeably smaller.
July was a particularly dry month for the reservoir as it fell to an all-time low of 1,040 feet.
Although 2022 marked the lowest point the lake has ever had, it was also a year when water levels rose for the first time in three years. This was due to a particularly wet monsoon season.
On January 2, the lake’s water levels were measured at 1,044.99 feet.
But water levels haven’t risen enough to assuage concerns, and the future for the reservoir still looks bleak.
Lake Mead’s water level was at an all-time high in 1983. The water level was so high at this point that it actually overflowed.
A picture taken on July 5, 1983 shows an aerial view of the Hoover Dam at a time when Lake Mead was overflowing into the lateral spillways.
A closeup of the spillway in the 1980s shows water pouring out of the Hoover Dam.
A 1940 image shows a sailboat on the lake just a few years after it was built, with barely-there patches of white across the water.
However, recent photos from 2022 show drastic changes.
A photo taken in September 2022 shows a white bathtub ring near Hoover Dam, indicating where the water level used to be. In the photo, the water can be seen well below the white ring.
In 2022, the lake level was so low that strange and cruel things were revealed. Shipwrecks and bodies previously buried in the lake’s waters have been found as the water continues to sink.
Another photo from 2022 shows people walking up a boat ramp that the water can’t reach because the level is so low.
Lake Mead’s future is difficult to predict. It’s not certain when or if the lake will ever be dead, but as the drought rages it’s looking increasingly likely.
A forecast by the Bureau of Reclamation estimates there is a 47 percent chance that the water level could drop below 1,020 feet in 2023.
Lake Mead isn’t the only body of water suffering the effects of the ongoing drought.
The Great Salt Lake in Utah recently recorded its lowest water level on record at 4,188.2 feet. Parts of the Mississippi have also dried up under dry conditions. Particularly low water levels were recorded in Memphis, Tennessee.
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https://www.newsweek.com/lake-mead-deadpool-levels-time-before-after-pictures-1770901 Lake Mead water levels over time shown in before and after images