Lake Mead, the massive reservoir that supplies water to millions of people across the southwestern U.S., has reached its lowest levels in nearly 75 years. Water levels dropped to 1,083 feet above sea level on Oct. 17, the lowest elevation since 1937, when the lake was first filled with the completion of the Hoover Dam.
The dropping water level — which beats a previous record set in the 1950s — underscores the effects of drought and increased water demands on the Colorado River. “Everyone needs to know when we turn on the tap, it drains water out of the river and it has ecological consequences,” Gary Wockner, a campaign coordinator for the conservation group Save the Colorado, told the Arizona Republic. If water levels fall another eight feet, officials would have to implement water restrictions for Arizona and Nevada.