Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the U.S., provides stark visual evidence of the western United States' ongoing drought, as the waterline drops to a historic low. Nathan Frandino reports.
▲ Hide Transcript
▶ View Transcript
Atop the Hoover Dam in Nevada, more evidence of the west's ongoing drought.
Iconic white "bath rings" mark Lake Mead's old water levels.
Now the largest reservoir in the country has dropped to historic lows.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) ROSE DAVIS, BUREAU OF RECLAMATION SPOKESPERSON, SAYING:
"This is 15 years of historic drought. We're looking at possibly a normal year for 2015, but one normal year isn't going to catch us up. This year alone, the elevation dropped 20 feet and we had the lowest release into Lake Mead from Lake Powell that we've ever had in its history."
The waterline now sits at the same level as when the lake was first filled in the 1930s.
That puts Lake Mead at about 39 percent capacity - scary news for millions of yearly tourists who come to enjoy the dam and the lake.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) MARK LILLIBRIDGE, TOURIST, SAYING:
"I'm concerned, I'm concerned for the water, you know? Maybe it's forcing us as a society to watch our water use better and even in good years, hopefully we'll watch it in the future and safeguard something as treasured as water anyway."
Still, Lake Mead continues to supply water to millions of customers.
But officials warn that if the drought persists water shortages in the southwest are inevitable.
Press CTRL+C (Windows), CMD+C (Mac), or long-press the URL below on your mobile device to copy the code