- Satellite image of major US reservoirs reveal how the bodies of water are depleting due to a mega-drought
- Nearly 89% of the western US is in a drought due to a lack of rain and warming temperatures
- Lake Mead is at a historic all-time low, while California's Lake Powell is sits at 34 percent capacity
- Such reservoirs serve nearly 75 million Americans, but low water levels caused emergencies in some states
- Many of the reservoirs' shorelines are covered in dry vegetation and riverbeds can be seen
- More than half of the western US is reported to be in 'extreme' and 'exceptional' droughtThe European Space Agency's (ESA) Sentinel-2 satellite captured alarming images of the reservoirs stretching from California to Utah and up to Oregon this year, along with shots from 2020 that shows a dramatic decline in water levels.
Lake Shasta, California's largest reservoir, is filled only to 42 percent capacity, while Lake Powell sits below 35 percent.
Approximately 89 percent of the western US is experiencing drought conditions, with more than half reported to be in 'extreme' and 'exceptional' drought, reported The Weather Channel, and this region is on track for its most severe drought in history.
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The mega-drought stems from a severe lack of rainfall over the past two years, combined with warming temperatures that creates a perfect mixture for a catastrophic fire season this year, Gizmodo reports.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) notes that above-average temperatures are expected throughout the US that could expand the dryness to all corners of the nation – but will increase the levels of dryness in states hit by the mega-drought.
Lake Mead is currently making headlines after officials announced it met its lowest level on record, which has put millions under emergency rations.
On Thursday, Lake Mead's water level is projected to hit an elevation of 1,071.61 feet, sinking to its lowest elevation on record since the 1930s, said a Bureau of Reclamation spokeswoman.
Thursday's level is about four feet below the level that would trigger a federal declaration of a water shortage which would cut water supplies to Arizona, Nevada and Mexico.
The drought does not seem as dramatic in the satellite image, but changes can be seen along the shoreline with receding levels revealing dead vegetation.
Although Lake Mead is getting a lot of attention, Lake Powell had more changes amid the mega-drought and much of its riverbed can be seen from space, as it only has received 39.4 percent of its average water inflow since the start of the year.
The lake, located along the Colorado River and touching parts of Utah and Arizona, is at just 34.7 percent capacity; water levels were measured Friday at 138 feet below the full mark.
Officials made the announcement about the massive 254-square-mile lake on June 4 and shortly after, Utah Governor Spencer Cox declared a 'Weekend of Prayer' that asked residents to pray for rain.
California's largest reservoir, Lake Shasta, recently was observed at 42 percent capacity.
The lake is a destination for many Americans who typically enjoy boating, fishing and hanging by the lush shoreline.
However, this year's mega-drought left only dusty riverbanks and water levels too low for recreation.
Nearly three hours south of Lake Shasta is another reservoir drying up from a lack of rain. Folsom Lake, another getaway destination in California, is only at 35 percent water capacity.
ESA's satellite images show the shoreline this year extends much farther into the center of the lake that is littered with dry vegetation.
Dry plants also can be seen in the surrounding land of the lake, which spells trouble as California nears its wildfire season.
However, Castaic Lake is also drying up and wildfires have already been reported in the area around the body of water that sits outside of Los Angeles. Most of Los Angeles County 'extreme' drought intensity, which is a level that usually occurs three to five times every 100 years.