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LAKE MEAD NATIONAL RECREATION AREA, AZ - MAY 12: A tall bleached 'bathtub ring' is visible behind the Hoover Dam on May 12, 2015 in Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Arizona. As severe drought grips parts of the Western United States, Lake Mead, which was once the largest reservoir in the nation, has seen its surface elevation drop below 1,080 feet above sea level, its lowest level since the construction of the Hoover Dam in the 1930s. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Models released by the U.S. government suggest a future with less water may arrive sooner than previously projected for the seven states that rely on the Colorado River. After a relatively dry summer, government scientists project Lake Powell and Lake Mead are 12% more likely to fall to critically low levels by 2025 than they projected in the spring. Climate change and prolonged drought have compelled some cities and farms to conserve water to secure the river long term, but it remains overtapped. The projections could complicate already-fraught negotiations between Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and Mexico over the river’s future.