Water levels drop in Nevada lake due to warming: police expect many dead bodies to float up

In Nevada, on May 1, the remains of a man killed in the 1980s were found in a metal barrel. This was due to the fact that the water level in the drought-affected Lake Mead fell sharply due to climate change. Police believe more bodies will come to light as the water levels drop in the coming years. The VICE publication spoke about this in more detail. water level drops in Nevada lake: police expect many bodies to float” />

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This confirmed by the Las Vegas Police Department (LVMPD), representing the complex effects of climate change in the region.

LVMPD Lieutenant Raymond Spencer said it is unlikely that the body would have been found if the water level in the lake had not fallen. According to him, “there is a very strong possibility” that more similar bodies will be found, as the water level continues to fall.

“Probably then the barrel fell hundreds of yards from the coast – Spencer said. “But this area is now considered a coastline.”

A pair of boatmen discovered the barrel around 3:00 pm May 1 on the shores of Lake Mead, the state's largest man-made body of water. The photo shows that the barrel is dirty, partially submerged and covered with shells.

The lake serves as a reservoir for the Colorado River. It was created in 1936 during the construction of the Hoover Dam, designed to block the flow of the river to fill the reservoir in rainy years and supply water to Arizona, Nevada, California in dry years.

Today, the Mead provides drinking water to more than 25 million people and is able to hold the entire average annual flow of the river for two years. But since 2000, water levels have dropped 150 feet (46 m) as snowfall and runoff levels have dropped below normal.

Lake Mead hit an all-time low in July 2021 of 1,067.65 feet (325 m), the lowest since 1937, forcing states that rely on it to cut consumption water. This record was recently broken and the lake dropped to 1,054 feet (321 m) above sea level – so low that the inlet valve on the river was exposed for the first time.

Police are currently working to establish the identity of the victim and declined to share details, but said the man had clearly been murdered. Items found inside the barrel indicate that the victim was killed in the 1980s. Investigators “definitely do not rule out” the possibility that the murder was mob-related. Since the LVMPD's DNA databases do not have information from the 1980s, the department will start its investigation from scratch and plan to enlist the help of experts from the University of Nevada.