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More human remains were found at Lake Mead, officials said on Saturday.
Park rangers responded to reports of human skeletal remains discovered at the lakeside Bathing Beach — the fourth set found at the lake since May.
Park rangers and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s dive team established a perimeter to recover the remains, officials said. The investigation is ongoing and the county medical examiner is determining the cause of death.
Located about 20 miles east of Las Vegas, Lake Mead was formed by the Hoover Dam and can hold more water than any other reservoir in the United States. It provides water to millions of people.
Here is a brief timeline of human remains found in Lake Mead in recent months:
May 1, 2022: Port of Hemenway
Boaters found a body inside a barrel after extremely low water levels exposed the bottom of the lake.
Authorities said the person’s personal effects indicated she died between the 1970s and 1980s. They believe the person’s death was a homicide resulting from a gunshot wound.
The barrel containing the skeletal remains was found in an area near the Hemenway port of the lake, according to earlier reports Associated Press. It’s also close to Swim Beach.
May 7, 2022: Callville Bay
Rouse said this set was more skeletal than previously found remains, which contained organic tissue, CNN also reported.
The cause of death in this case remains unknown.
July 25, 2022: swimming at the beach
Reports have emerged of another set of remains found at Swim Beach, according to authorities. The investigation is still ongoing and the cause of death has not been identified.
A worsening drought
The latest discovery of human remains found in the lake comes as the reservoir suffers from a 22-year drought.
Lake Mead has reached its lowest water level since 1937 and is filled to 27% of its capacity, according to Nasa.
Las Vegas has begun pumping its water supply deeper into the lake due to reservoir depletion, the Associated Press reported in May.
These droughts, exacerbated by climate change, continue to plague the West. The region is experiencing its driest period for at least 1200 years.
Nevada, Arizona and California, as well as the federal government, have reached a $200 million contract to try to keep more water in Lake Mead this year and next, according to Colorado’s Alex Hager RABBIT member station.