Stranded boats, desiccated fish, and no water on cracked ground that once made a shoreline. That’s the new business-as-usual for Lake Mead, where the West’s punishing drought and chronic water overuse have combined to render the lake almost unrecognizable as water levels continue to plummet.
As of Tuesday, the lake’s water level was sitting just below 1,042 feet (317.6 meters) above sea level. That’s significantly lower than its levels last year on the same date (just over 1,068 feet [325.5 meters]) and in 2020 (1,086 feet [331 meters]). The lake’s historic high was 1,225.44 feet (373.5 meters), reached in the mid-1980s, but the past few months have brought Lake Mead down to historic low levels not seen since the lake was created in the 1930s.