LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Lake Mead will drop nearly 30 feet from its current level by September of 2023 if forecasts released Thursday are accurate.

The Bureau of Reclamation expects the lake to hit 1,014.86 feet, plunging 9 feet below projections that were released only last month.

It’s been less than a year since the federal government declared a water shortage in the Southwest. That came on Aug. 11, 2021. Lake Mead was at 1067.80 feet that day. Today, the lake is at 1,044.93 feet.

The forecast comes out as water officials from several Southwest U.S. states meet in Colorado, and the current agreement on how water is shared is set to expire in 2026. So far, there’s no sign that states are happy with the current terms of the deal.

Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille C. Touton told a U.S. Senate committee on Tuesday that states will need to cut usage between 2 and 4 million acre-feet in 2023 to protect the Lake Mead and Lake Powell reservoirs.

The rate the lake level is dropping is enough to put a scare into anyone who is watching it closely. Over the past four months, Lake Mead has dropped by 22.14 feet. Over the same four-month span last year, it only dropped 16.23 feet. That means the lake level has dropped an average of 2.16 inches every day since mid-February.

Over the past five years, the lake level falls the most during that time span. As summer begins, runoff from winter snows usually replenishes the reservoir. The new forecast shows Lake Mead rising in only three of the next 15 months.

Lake levels are expressed as altitudes. A lake level of 1,000 feet means the surface of the lake is 1,000 feet above sea level.

Decisions about water allocations are based on forecasts that come out in August, but it’s already clear that Tier 2 restrictions will take effect in January and Nevada’s water allocation will drop.