INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — NASA has released high-resolution satellite photos showing a dramatic difference in Lake Mead water levels. Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the United States and supplies water to seven states, tribal lands, and northern Mexico. It is now at its lowest level since April 1937.
The newest images show a significant decrease in water. Right now it’s filled to 27% of capacity. The significant drought in the western US, combined with the below-average snow pack from last winter, has created historic low water levels.
According to NASA, local precipitation makes up about 10% of the water in Lake Mead, while the rest comes from snow melt in the Rockies.
The newest drought monitor shows much of the western United States is under extreme or exceptional drought conditions. About 34% of Nevada is under exceptional drought conditions.
Lake Mead does not only serve as a source of drinking water and irrigation for the southwest, but it is also a popular recreation destination for boaters. According to the National Park Service, there is only one boating ramp/launch open.