Lake Mead, largest US reservoir, inches closer to ‘dead pool’ levels

BOULDER CITY, Nev. — Lake Mead, the country’s largest reservoir, is inching closer to “dead pool” status as water levels continue to fall amid a drought, multiple news outlets are reporting.

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According to NBC News and ABC News, the water level of the reservoir along the Nevada-Arizona border reached another historic low Thursday, dropping to 1,043.82 feet, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation reported. Dead pool – when low levels prevent the water from flowing to a dam – would occur at 895 feet, officials said.

Although it likely would take years for Lake Mead to reach the grim milestone, officials are sounding alarms. Last summer, a water shortage forced fewer releases from the reservoir, which produces power at the Hoover Dam and provides drinking water to Nevada, California and Arizona, along with portions of Mexico, ABC News reported. More cuts could come next summer as officials attempt to replenish Lake Mead, according to the news outlet.

“Electricity generation in our western reservoirs becomes a problem as the water level in the reservoirs goes down,” University of Arizona emeritus professor Robert Glennon, a water law expert, told NBC News.

The sinking water level has had other chilling consequences, as well. ABC News reported that authorities discovered human bodies in the reservoir last month, according to Las Vegas Metropolitan Police and the U.S. National Park Service.