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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 47 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Facebook paying up to $14M to settle employment discrimination claims

Photo: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Facebook has agreed to pay up to $14.25 million to settle allegations that it discriminated against American workers by reserving positions for temporary visa holders, the Justice Department announced on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The settlement represents the largest civil penalty and monetary award that the Civil Rights Division has recovered in the 35-year history of the Immigration and Nationality Act's anti-discrimination provision.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Mapping repression in China's Xinjiang region

Data: © Mapbox, © OpenStreetMap; Map: Will Chase/Axios

A sweeping new report released today by an Australian research organization reveals new details about how the Chinese Communist Party — and specifically who within the party — is carrying out its campaign of repression in Xinjiang.

Why it matters: Uncovering the actual offices and individuals implementing the Chinese government's genocide and forced labor policies in Xinjiang can bring accountability and help international companies delink supply chains in compliance with U.S. and EU forced labor laws.