Why is the water level so low at Lake Mead?

Weather Blog

Dear Tom,
We just came back from a trip out west and visited Hoover Dam. Lake Mead, the reservoir behind the dam, is very low. What is going on?
—Robert Jameison family, Batavia
Dear Jameison family,
Lake Mead is forecast to be at 34 percent of full capacity by the end of the year, its lowest level since the completion of the Hoover Dam in the 1930s. The decline is primarily the result of an ongoing drought that has affected the Colorado River drainage basin. Many scientists believe up to 60 percent of the decline is the result of climate change that has spread across the drainage basin of the Colorado River. “Shortages are only going to increase,” said Jennifer Pitt, Director of the Colorado River Program at the National Audubon Society. “Once we’re on that train, it’s not clear when it stops.”

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