BOULDER CITY, Nev. – A third set of human remains has been found around the shores of Lake Mead as a megadrought causes the reservoir’s water levels to drop to the lowest stages since the 1930s.
The National Park Service reports the most recent find happened Monday in a swimming area in the Lake Mead recreational zone.
Rangers said they contacted the Clark County Coroner’s Office, who took procession of the remains and will determine the person’s identity and the cause of death.
The lake level has dropped more than 150 feet since 2000, and the lowering water stage has exposed everything from boats to critical intake valves for hydropower generation.
- Image 1 of 8
- Image 2 of 8
- Image 3 of 8
- Image 4 of 8
- Image 5 of 8
- Image 6 of 8
- Image 7 of 8
- Image 8 of 8
Lt. Ray Spencer, of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s homicide division, warned after the first set of remains was found in May that more discoveries were likely as dropping water levels revealed sights not seen in decades.
The first set of remains were found in a barrel that was northwest of the Hoover Dam on May 1, and the second was found on May 7 in Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
Neither individual has been positively identified, but police believe the first discovery might have been a homicide victim from the 1970s.
Lake Mead is estimated to be at just 27 percent of capacity, and the continued deterioration is showing no signs of slowing.
More than 25 million people across several western states rely on the massive reservoir for both water and electricity.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation reported lake levels at the Hoover Dam are around 1,043 feet and must stay above the threshold of 1,000 feet for hydropower turbines to continue to operate at normal levels.