The water level in Lake Mead has been fairly steadily falling for the last 15 years, something proven quite easily using many charts and graphs. But nothing hammers it home quite like NASA’s before-and-after shots.

As the GIF shows, water levels have dropped significantly since 2000 — you can see the northern arm shrink down to a dribble, and the shore all around has shrunk, while Las Vegas has expanded into the desert over the same time period.

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The water levels at Lake Mead have fluctuated ever since it was first filled in the 1930s. Droughts in the ‘50s and ‘60s saw drops in the water elevation, but with the steady decline over the last decade, the water is as low as it’s been since the lake was first filled. It might take more than just a giant straw to fix this problem.


Contact the author at chris@gizmodo.com.

Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory/Joshua Stevens