The U.S.’ largest reservoir is drying up. Here’s what NASA images reveal

Currently, water levels stand at their lowest since April 1937, and as of July 18, 2022, the lake was filled to just 27 percent of capacity. The last time the lake was close to full capacity was in the summers of 1983 and 1999. At full capacity, Mead would reach an elevation of 1,220 feet (372 meters) near the Hoover Dam, and include 9.3 trillion gallons (36 trillion liters) of water, according to the data from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR).

Unfortunately, things don’t seem to be getting any better.

According to NASA, 74 percent of nine Western states suffer from different levels of drought; in particular, California, Nevada, Utah, and Oregon face extreme levels. In the meantime, only 17 percent of Colorado doesn’t seem to be in drought.

What’s more, the water elevation level at the Hoover Dam was 1041.30 feet (317.4 meters) above sea level on July 18, 2022. To compare, it was at around 1199.97 feet (341 meters) in July 2000, according to USBR. Lake levels of the dam should be above 1000 feet so that hydropower turbines can operate at normal levels.

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