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Dry farmland and a defunct resort; the repercussions of Lake Mead's water shortage

The Bureau of Reclamation declared the first-ever Level 1 water shortage condition for Lake Mead. It sets off a series of water cuts that take effect in 2022.

William Pitts

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The water at Hoover Dam should be near the top of the dam. But the water hasn’t been that high in 40 years.

Decades of drought have dropped the lake level 158 feet, exposing the bathtub ring, the whitewashed section of rock that used to be under the water.

On Monday, the Bureau of Reclamation declared the first-ever Level 1 water shortage condition for Lake Mead. It sets off a series of water cuts that take effect in 2022. 

The repercussions of a draining water supply are immense -- farms are drying up, a once-thriving marina now sits more than a mile from lake water and Arizona's Department of Water Resources is planning water cuts that could impact municipal water supplies as early as 2024.

12 News, along with sister stations across Western states, set out to understand the dire conditions our states face as drought and wildfire continue to rage.