(CNN) — The National Park Service found another set of human remains in Lake Mead on Monday as reservoir water levels continue to drop. according to a press release.

Rangers responded to a report of human remains found in the park’s Swim Beach area in Boulder City, Nevada around 4:30 p.m. PT, the release said. “Park rangers are on site and have set up a perimeter to retrieve the remains,” the statement said.

The Clark County medical examiner is helping determine the cause of death, the park service said.

human remains lake mead drought

The lowering of the water level of Lake Mead revealed three bodies and several sunken ships in the middle of a megadrought in the western United States.

It is at least the third body found in the Lake Mead area, as the country’s largest reservoir has dropped to unprecedented levels.

the first body, discovered on May 1was found in a barrel and was likely a murder victim who died of a gunshot wound “sometime between the mid-1970s and early 1980s, based on the clothing and footwear the victim was wearing,” according to a press release from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police.

The May 7th another set of remains was found in the Callville Bay area of ​​the park.

The receding waters have also exposed previously sunken vessels, including a World War II-era boat last month.

About 40 million people in the West depend on water from the Colorado River and its two largest reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, whose levels have dropped at an alarming rate in recent years due to the megadrought caused by climate change. .

This Tuesday, the water level of Lake Mead was at 316.9 meters, some 53 meters below its level in 2000, when it was last considered full. It is the lowest level recorded in the reservoir since it was filled in the 1930s.

The low water level of the lake exposed one of the reservoir’s original water inlet valves for the first time in April. The valve had been in service since 1971 but can no longer draw water, according to the Southern Nevada Water Authority. This agency is responsible for managing water resources for 2.2 million people in southern Nevada, including Las Vegas.

“The lake has emptied dramatically over the last 15 years,” Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Homicide Lt. Ray Spencer said in May. “We are likely to find more bodies that have been dumped into Lake Mead” as the water level drops further.

— CNN’s Eric Levenson and Rachel Ramirez contributed to this report.

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