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From left; Satellite images of Boulder Harbor Launch Ramp at Lake Mead in Boulder City, Nevada, on May 18, 2020, and on July 17 this year. Photo: Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies

Newly released satellite images of the Colorado River and Lake Mead in Nevada show the impact the historic drought has had on the region in just one year.

The big picture: The nation's largest reservoir by volume is at its lowest level since being filled after the Hoover Dam's completion in the 1930s — prompting the federal government to this week for the first time declare a water shortage for Lake Mead. The Hoover Dam has been operating below its maximum capacity all summer, and it may drop further.

Lake Mead on the Colorado River
Lake Mead on the Colorado River on Aug. 8, 2020. The West is in the grip of the worst drought of this century, while has been hit by the first climate change-caused megadrought seen in the past 1,200 years, per Axios' Andrew Freedman. Photo: Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies
Lake Mead on Aug. 8 this year. Photo: Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies
Southern Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam
An overview of Southern Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam on May 18, 2020. Photo: Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies
An overview of Southern Lake Mead and Hoover Dam on July 27 this year. Photo: Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies
Hemenway Harbor Boat Launch area
Hemenway Harbor Boat Launch at Lake Mead and Hoover Dam on May 18. Photo: Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies
Hemenway Harbor Boat Launch at Lake Mead and Hoover Dam on July 27. Photo: Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies
The Hoover Dam
The Hoover Dam on May 18. Photo: Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies
The Hoover Dam on July 27. Photo: Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies

Go deeper

Updated Aug 25, 2021 - World

In photos: Race to evacuate from Afghanistan

Passengers evacuated from Afghanistan disembark from a British Royal Air Force aircraft, after landing at RAF Brize Norton air base in southern England on Aug. 24. Photo: Justin TalliS/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. and allied countries are "working around the clock" to evacuate people from Afghanistan ahead of next week's full U.S. military withdrawal from the country, per the New York Times.

The big picture: President Biden said Tuesday over 70,000 people had been evacuated since the airlift began on Aug. 14 and that the U.S. and its allies were on pace to leave Afghanistan by the Aug. 31 deadline. He's suggested U.S. troops may remain beyond then to continue with evacuation efforts.

Updated 39 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker

Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates

A teacher prepares a hallway barrier to help students maintain social distancing at John B. Wright Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona, on Aug. 14, 2020. Photo: Cheney Orr/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) filed a lawsuit Friday against the Biden administration for ordering the state to stop allocating federal COVID relief funds to schools that don't comply with public health recommendations such as masking, the Arizona Republic reports.

Why it matters: The Treasury Department said last week that the state would have to pay back the money if Ducey does not redesignate the $173 million programs to ensure they don't "undermine efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19."