Lake Mead reaches milestone low levels of water

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Lake Mead Reaches Milestone Low Levels Of Water

Lake Mead, which is located east of Las Vegas, has reached milestone low levels of water to due drought conditions in the western U.S.

In the 78 years since the dam was filled in May 1937, the water line has not dipped below 1,080.18 feet above sea level until recently.

On Tuesday, it reached 1,079.76 feet which means the lake is at just 38 percent of its holding capacity.

These falling levels could affect the millions of Americans for whom Lake Mead is a major water source which includes most of the growing Las Vegas Valley.

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Lake Mead reaches milestone low levels of water
In this July 20, 2014 photo, a bathtub ring of light minerals shows the high water line near Hoover Dam on Lake Mead at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Nevada. A 14-year drought has caused the water level in the reservoir to shrink to its lowest point since it was first filled in the 1930s. (AP Photo/John Locher)
In this July 18, 2014 photo, the bathtub ring of light minerals that delineates the high water mark on Lake Mead is seen at Hemenway Harbor in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Nevada. A 14-year drought has caused the water level in the reservoir to shrink to its lowest point since it was first filled in the 1930s. (AP Photo/John Locher)
PAGE, AZ - MARCH 30: Lake Powell is shown from an airplane window on March 30, 2015 in Page, Arizona. As severe drought grips parts of the Western United States, a below average amount of water is expected to flow through the Colorado River Basin into two of its biggest reservoirs, Lake Powell and Lake Mead. Lake Powell is currently at 45 percent of capacity and is at risk of seeing its surface elevation fall below 1,075 feet above sea level by September, which would be the lowest level on record. The Colorado River Basin supplies water to 40 million people in seven western states. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
PAGE, AZ - MARCH 30: Lake Powell is shown from an airplane window on March 30, 2015 in Page, Arizona. As severe drought grips parts of the Western United States, a below average amount of water is expected to flow through the Colorado River Basin into two of its biggest reservoirs, Lake Powell and Lake Mead. Lake Powell is currently at 45 percent of capacity and is at risk of seeing its surface elevation fall below 1,075 feet above sea level by September, which would be the lowest level on record. The Colorado River Basin supplies water to 40 million people in seven western states. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
PAGE, AZ - MARCH 30: The Antelope Point Marina at Lake Powell is shown through an airplane window on March 30, 2015 in Page, Arizona. As severe drought grips parts of the Western United States, a below average amount of water is expected to flow through the Colorado River Basin into two of its biggest reservoirs, Lake Powell and Lake Mead. Lake Powell is currently at 45 percent of capacity and is at risk of seeing its surface elevation fall below 1,075 feet above sea level by September, which would be the lowest level on record. The Colorado River Basin supplies water to 40 million people in seven western states. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
BIG WATER, UT - MARCH 30: Water lines are visible on a section of Lake Powell that used to be under water on March 30, 2015 near Big Water, Utah. As severe drought grips parts of the Western United States, a below average flow of water is expected to flow through the Colorado River Basin into two of its biggest reservoirs, Lake Powell and Lake Mead. Lake Powell is currently at 45 percent of capacity and is at risk of seeing its surface elevation fall below 1,075 feet above sea level by September, which would be the lowest level on record. The Colorado River Basin supplies water to 40 million people in seven western states. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FILE - In this July 28, 2014 file photo, lightning strikes over Lake Mead near Hoover Dam at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, near Boulder City, Nev. The bathtub ring of light minerals shows the high water mark of the reservoir which has shrunk to its lowest point since it was first filled in the 1930s. Amid worries that crucial multi-state water agreements are beginning to erode due to ongoing drought, representatives of seven Colorado River basin states are meeting in Las Vegas this week. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is set to get a report Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014, calling for his state to capture and use every legal drop of Rocky Mountain snowmelt before it flows downstream. Meanwhile, officials from Arizona, California and Nevada are touting a cooperative agreement aimed at keeping the water level above critical stage at drought-depleted Lake Mead. The federal Bureau of Reclamation is also involved. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)
In this July 24, 2014 photo, dropping water levels reveal larger islands in Lake Mead compared to a picture on an interpretive sign on a hill overlooking the lake in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Nevada. A 14-year drought has caused the water level in the reservoir to shrink to its lowest point since it was first filled in the 1930s. (AP Photo/John Locher)
In this July 24, 2014 photo, wind kicks up dust on an area that was once under water at Hemenway Harbor in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Nevada. As the lake levels drop the floating marinas move to adjust to the changing shoreline. (AP Photo/John Locher)
In this July 16, 2014 photo, what was once the Echo Bay Marina sits high and dry next to Lake Mead in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Nevada. A 14-year drought has caused the water level in Lake Mead to shrink to its lowest point since it was first filled in the 1930s. (AP Photo/John Locher)
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It also threatens electricity production, as turbines at Hoover Dam churn the water to generate power.

With the hot summer months approaching, experts acknowledge the possibility that levels could sink to as low as 1,073 feet this year.

Once the lake reaches 1,075 feet or below, a water shortage declaration goes into effect, triggering restricted allotments to Nevada and Arizona.

Environmentalists are advocating major reductions in water use, as the downward trend is projected to continue.
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