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Summer of grim discoveries continues as more human remains are found at drought-stricken Lake Mead

It’s the third time since May that skeletal remains have been discovered at Lake Mead, which has reached historic low levels amid a more-than-20-year drought.

More human remains have been found at Lake Mead, officials said Tuesday, another grim discovery as the country’s largest reservoir drops to historic lows.

It's the third time since May that skeletal remains have been discovered.

National Park Service rangers responded to a report around 8 p.m. Monday and found the remains in the Swim Beach area, Lake Mead National Recreation Area officials said.

On May 1, the body of someone police think was fatally shot in the 1970s or ’80s was found in a barrel.

Skeletal remains were also discovered May 7, Aug. 6 and Monday.

Other human remains were found at Lake Mead’s Swim Beach in Nevada on July 25. They were not skeletal, and it was not clear whether dropping water levels played a role in the discovery, a park official said at the time.

A formerly sunken boat on cracked earth hundreds of feet from what is now the shoreline on Lake Mead, in May.
A formerly sunken boat on cracked earth hundreds of feet from what is now the shoreline on Lake Mead, in May.John Locher / AP file

A drought gripping the Western U.S. has helped push Lake Mead's water levels to historic lows.

On Tuesday, the Interior Department announced reductions in the amount of water Arizona, Nevada and Mexico can draw from Lake Mead in 2023.

The department in a statement cited a 23-year ongoing drought and historic low runoff conditions in the Colorado River Basin.

Tuesday’s announcement included designating Lake Mead to operate in a Tier-2a shortage. It is the first time the lake has been pushed to that designation.

The prolonged drought and low runoff to the Colorado River have been accelerated by climate change, officials said.