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Images reveal dramatic drop in Lake Mead water levels


Dramatic new images taken from space have confirmed a trend scientists and conservationists have been following for years -- the largest reservoir in the United States is shrinking and may reach dangerously low levels in the near future.

The stunning new pictures released by NASA, taken about 13 months apart by the Landsat 8 satellite, show how the water levels on Lake Mead have dropped, revealing more and more dry land.

Lake Mead Still Shrinking
NASA image taken July 21, 2014

Lake Mead Still Shrinking
NASA image taken June 16, 2013

When compared with levels in January 2013, when the lake was above 1122 feet, the staggering drop becomes even more obvious.

Lake Mead Still Shrinking
The water levels on Lake Mead have not dropped below 1078 feet since the Hoover Dam was completed nearly 75 years ago, but scientists expect that might finally happen soon.

Lake Mead is fed primarily by the Colorado River Basin and provides water for roughly 20 million farms, businesses and residents who live in Nevada, Arizona and parts of California, according to CBS News, and since 2000, the lake has lost an estimated 4 trillion gallons of water.

"It's a pretty critical point," Pat Mulroy, who serves as general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, told CBS. "The rate at which our weather patterns are changing is so dramatic that our ability to adapt to it is really crippled."

The potential crisis facing Lake Mead and the broader Colorado River Basin has caught the attention of some celebrities too. Well-known conservationist and Hollywood A-listers Robert Redford and Will Ferrell teamed up earlier this year to try to raise awareness for a project to help revive the river by adding water to it for the Raise the River campaign.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation expects the water levels at Lake Mead to drop to 1,080 feet in November of this year but don't predict a major crisis yet.

While the agency isn't currently projecting a water shortage in 2015, officials told the New York Times earlier this year there is a 50-50 chance that use of Lake Mead's water will need to be rationed next year.

As NASA points out, the images help show why "something has to change soon in precipitation patterns or water use."

Lake Mead Water Levels Reach New Low

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ducklakeman August 09 2014 at 7:48 AM

Let;s be logical here. Build thriving, growing cities in deserts, water must be diverted to serve these cities. Kind of like changing the course of nature. Not meant to be. Man is arrogant and that will be his downfall. Global warming, or now the left call it climate change, has nothing to do with anything. That is all a political agenda aimed at the naive and ignorant to keep the left in power and to take away many of our freedoms. Al Gore even admits now that he lied about global warming. And he owns his own jet. Yet he preaches to us about giving up and sacrificing and doing without. Michael Moore is also a swine. obama is human excrement.

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50 replies
Brutal August 09 2014 at 7:54 AM

The scary thing to me is when they don't have enough water out there ... the left coasters will come east. Now that would be a real crisis.

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32 replies
skydrop007 August 09 2014 at 7:21 AM

Obama will lead to our demise before this happens.

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24 replies
wc98 August 09 2014 at 7:18 AM

when the lake levels fell to the same low as now in the 50's and 60's, were they all saying it was the end of the world? they have charted te level monthly since 1935, and this "dramatic drop" is nothing new for the lake.

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12 replies
veterian74 August 09 2014 at 8:12 AM

Not to worry, the next rain flood will fill it back up, just like it has for the past 80 years.

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7 replies
montanalonewolf August 09 2014 at 7:42 AM

Shut off that piece of utterly useless real estate known as Las Vegas. Problem solved.

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18 replies
stengernc August 09 2014 at 8:19 AM

Earth is a dynamic model of constant change. Humans have been abusing earth's natural balances for centuries...over population in the wrong places will now reap what they sow, chaos. Another billion people will be added to 6 billion here. Poverty and climate change will create wars all over...still think humans are smart???

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12 replies
Bill August 09 2014 at 7:49 AM

Climate change? Nah. When will the non-believers pull their heads out of their azzes.

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17 replies
PERFORATOR August 09 2014 at 9:08 AM

Maybe Mooch can make a hashtag!

#Bring our waterlevels back!

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1 reply
Terry PERFORATOR August 09 2014 at 11:47 AM

I sure thought with the glaciers melting we would have plenty of water

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1 reply
peter Terry August 09 2014 at 12:06 PM

In case you haven't looked at a map lately, most glaciers melt directly into the ocean... thus rising sea levels.

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fred August 09 2014 at 7:57 AM

Makes sense to blame fracking in Ohio, Phony Al's private jet, Miley's concerts, the Pantsuit Pinocchio's take on Benghazi and Kartrashian's videos.

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5 replies
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