Lake Mead, America's Largest Reservoir, Hits Its Lowest Level Lake Mead, America's Largest Reservoir, Hits Its Lowest Level
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Lake Mead, America's Largest Reservoir, Hits Its Lowest Level

by Andrew Price

October 27, 2010

Lake Mead, about 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, is the largest reservoir in the United States. As such, it's pretty important. It supplies water to millions of people in the southwestern United States, irrigates agricultural land so we can eat, and produces huge amounts of electricity through Hoover Dam.

But thanks to low snowfall, it's been drying up for years. This month it hit its lowest point in 75 years. Have a look at the dramatic satellite photos from NASA, above.

Yale E360 reports:

Water levels dropped to 1,083 feet above sea level on Oct. 17, the lowest elevation since 1937, when the lake was first filled with the completion of the Hoover Dam. The dropping water level — which beats a previous record set in the 1950s — underscores the effects of drought and increased water demands on the Colorado River.

If the water level drops another eight feet, that will trigger rationing measures for Arizona and Nevada. This makes me wonder: Can climate change skepticism survive tangible—and negative—environmental shifts like this? Or can you have a Tea Party without water?

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Lake Mead, America's Largest Reservoir, Hits Its Lowest Level