The ongoing drought in the west sees Lake Tahoe approaching its 'low' mark, water service to 1000s may be impacted, and the shores of the lake stink.
Trash that had sunk in Tahoe's waters is now exposed to the sunlight: a cigarette lighter, a seat cushion, a champagne bottle. It is a dystopian version of the postcard image of Lake Tahoe.
But the worst part is the smell. The air hangs with the scent of sewage or rotting seaweed. The stink comes from the algae that has been left behind by the retreating waters. It's now rotting on the beach.
This week, Tahoe's water levels got so low they reached a threshold we've been waiting for all summer, with mixed dread and inevitability. In science-speak, the water reached Tahoe's natural rim, at elevation 6,223 feet, on Tuesday morning. Tahoe is considered full at elevation 6,229 feet. So when water levels reach the natural rim of the lake, that means it has lost 6 feet of water across its surface, which measures at 191 square miles.