BOULDER CITY, Nev. (KLAS) — The mysteries at Lake Mead are drawing visitors to its shores — with more people checking out the dramatic changes as the nation celebrated Independence Day.
The lake clocked in at 1,042 feet on Monday, nearly 200 feet below its full pool, when the lake is at capacity. The lake’s level is measured in elevation. Lake levels have receded more than 10 feet since boaters discovered a body in a barrel in May.
Experts predict Lake Mead will drop nearly 30 feet from its current level by September 2023. The lake is like a big bowl with areas on the shoreline receding more quickly since there is more volume of water in deeper areas.
“This is the lowest I’ve ever seen it,” Mark Graham, who is visiting from California, said. “It’s pretty saddening from how I’ve seen it in the past.”
The lake’s past now oddly dots its present. Clothing, furniture bottles and cans are sprinkled along its sandy shoreline. Like Ariel in “The Little Mermaid,” the debris is a treasure trove.
“After years and years of people just indiscriminately throwing things in the water and falling and all kinds of odd things, you’re surely going to find things that aren’t going to be very sightless,” Graham said.
The receding waters are also revealing sunken boats. An upright speedboat, once hidden under water, was on dry land was of mid-June. A piece of World War II history was also showing this week above the waterline.
“It’s sad to see it go down, it is,” boater Tim Welch said. “Every time we come out here, it’s part of the conversation, how low it is.”
“It’s extremely sad, to say the least, to see the water levels decrease,” Elisa Yaeger, who was visiting the lake Monday from Mexico.
A new forecast shows Lake Mead rising in only three of the next 15 months.
Since Lake Mead’s filling in the 1930s, 300 people have drowned in its waters, park service officials told the 8 News Now I-Team.
The I-Team was first to report the discovery of a body in a barrel at the lake in May. Since the person is believed to have been murdered, the case is not among the 300 drownings. Investigators suspect there are more victims in the lake.