Body in barrel discovered at Lake Mead is likely a gunshot murder victim from decades ago, police say

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(CNN)The plunging h2o level successful Lake Mead -- the country's largest reservoir, besieged by drought -- unveiled different disturbing find implicit the weekend, constabulary say: a assemblage successful a barrel.

A idiosyncratic who was spending clip astatine the water Sunday day recovered the barrel, according to Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Homicide Lieutenant Ray Spencer. The idiosyncratic could spot the remains successful the tube due to the fact that it was corroded.

Spencer said successful a merchandise Tuesday investigators judge the idiosyncratic was apt a execution unfortunate who died from a gunshot wound.

According to the release, an probe is present underway, and "detectives judge the unfortunate was killed immoderate clip successful the mid '70s to aboriginal '80s, based connected covering and footwear the unfortunate was recovered with."

Investigators are moving to corroborate the individuality of the victim, which volition beryllium released by the Clark County Coroner's Office.

About 25 cardinal radical successful Arizona, Nevada, California and Mexico trust connected Lake Mead water, which has been moving retired astatine an alarming complaint amid a climate change-fueled megadrought.

"The water has drained dramatically implicit the past 15 years," Spencer said previously, noting "it's apt that we volition find further bodies that person been dumped successful Lake Mead" arsenic the h2o level drops more.

Lake Mead plummets to unprecedented low, exposing archetypal   1971 h2o  intake valve

"The tube was apt dropped hundreds of yards disconnected the enactment backmost then," Spencer said, "but that country is present considered the shoreline."

As of Monday the lake's h2o level was astir 1,054 feet supra oversea level -- astir 160 feet beneath its 2000 level, erstwhile it was past considered full. It's the lowest level connected grounds for the reservoir since it was filled successful the 1930s.

In August, the national authorities declared an unprecedented h2o shortage connected the Colorado River, which feeds the reservoir, triggering h2o depletion cuts for states successful the Southwest opening successful January.

Last week, the lake's debased h2o level besides exposed 1 of the reservoir's archetypal water intake valves for the archetypal time. The valve had been successful work since 1971, but it tin nary longer gully water, according to the Southern Nevada Water Authority, the bureau liable for managing h2o resources for 2.2 cardinal radical successful confederate Nevada, including Las Vegas.

Upstream connected the Colorado River, h2o levels astatine Lake Powell -- the country's second-largest reservoir -- person besides been plummeting and precocious dipped beneath a threshold that threatens not lone downstream h2o proviso but besides hydropower procreation for the surrounding communities.

Across the West, utmost drought has already taken a large toll this year, with around 91% of the portion successful immoderate level of drought, according to the US Drought Monitor. Extreme and exceptional drought, the 2 worst designations, expanded crossed New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado -- each states successful the Colorado River basin.

CNN's Stephanie Elam contributed to this story.

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