As Lake Mead Recedes, Sinister Secrets are Uncovered One by One
Park rangers were called to Swim Beach in Lake Mead earlier this week after yet another set of skeletal remains
Park rangers were called to Swim Beach in Lake Mead earlier this week after yet another set of skeletal remains was uncovered.
It's the fifth body discovered in recent months after levels in the vital lake reached historic lows. Some suggest that the slow uncovering of body after body is a sign for dire things to come in the West if Lake Mead levels don't stabilize.
More Bodies Found as Lake Mead Levels Drop
People reports, "NPS rangers responded to a report of the discovery of 'human skeletal remains' in the Swim Beach area of Lake Mead National Recreation Area around 8 p.m. Monday, read the release.
'Park rangers have set a perimeter to recover the remains with the support from Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department's dive team. The Clark County Medical Examiner has also been contacted,' NPS continued, adding: 'The investigation is ongoing.'"
This marks the fifth remains discovered since May. The first body was discovered May 1, a homicide victim who died from a gunshot wound. The body is believed to date back to the '70's or '80's.
Another body was discovered May 7, and yet another July 25. The fourth body was found August 6.
Also discovered in the receding waters was a World War II-era boat, partially submerged which was discovered in July.
Bodies of water such as Lake Mead are not uncommonly used as places to dispose of bodies, and some may be victims of accidental misfortune.
Will Lake Mead’s Levels Go Back Up Again?
Nonetheless, the secrets being uncovered as the water levels go down are an apt metaphor for the danger the West is exposed to each year as the critical lake's levels drop even further.
It has prompted many in recent weeks to ask the question: will Lake Mead ever fill up again?
The Glen Canyon Institute which studies and preserves the Colorado River has grim news, writing that increased demand on Lake Mead combined with a megadrought is causing a crisis. "As a result, growing demand, relentless shortage, and climate change are creating an average water deficit of almost 1 million acre-feet a year in the Colorado River system. Both Lake Powell and Lake Mead reservoirs are half empty, and scientists predict that they will probably never fill again. The water supply of more than 22 million people in the three Lower Basin states is in jeopardy."
Water supply downriver from the lake is already being slashed, with Mexico, Las Vegas and other downriver destinations already set to receive record low acre-feet of water from the vital lifeline.
While this may help shore up reservoir levels for the short term, it won't refill the lake. Record levels of snowfall in upriver mountains melting into the lake basin is the only way to refill the lake to sustainable levels. In the meantime, urban planners and agricultural scientists have to find a way to work around a future that looks a lot dryer for the Southwest United States.