Lake Mead hits record low water level

Lake Mead hits record low water level
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Lake Mead, the United States’s largest reservoir, has hit a record low level, officials announced this week. 

The Desert Sun reported Friday that Lake Mead reached its all-time lowest level on Wednesday night, besting a record set last June. The lake’s level, as of Thursday, stands at an elevation of about 1,074.6 feet. 

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Lake Mead — a Nevada reservoir established in the 1930s — has seen its levels dwindle as the Colorado River suffers through persistent drought conditions.

The Sun reports that the lake’s low level increases the likelihood the federal government declares a shortage there in 2018, which would set limits on the amount of water flowing from the lake to states in the West.

A shortage is necessary if the lake’s level is projected to be below 1,075 feet at the beginning of the year. The Bureau of Reclamation currently projects a 59 percent likelihood of declaring a shortage in 2018. 

Local lawmakers have long been concerned about the declining water levels at Lake Mead. Nevada Sens. Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidMcConnell warns Democrats not to change filibuster rule Filibuster reform gains steam with Democrats The Hill's Morning Report - Trump wants executive order on policing; silent on pending bills MORE (D), the minority leader, and Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerOn The Trail: Democrats plan to hammer Trump on Social Security, Medicare Lobbying World Democrats spend big to put Senate in play MORE (R) attached an amendment to an energy and water spending bill to provide $50 million for Lake Mead water efforts. 

“We have to work to reverse current trends or water shortages will become the new normal,” Reid said in April. “The federal government can and should work with states on solutions that will make our precious water supplies more sustainable.”