The body in an exposed barrel with the lower level of Lake Mead in Nevada

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A body was found inside a barrel over the weekend at the newly exposed bottom of Lake Mead in Nevada as drought depleted one of America’s largest reservoirs — and officials predicted the discovery would be the first of a grim discovery.

“I would say there is a very good chance that given the lower water level we are going to find additional human remains,” said Lt. Ray Spencer of the Las Vegas Police Department. KLAS-TV said on Monday.

The level of the lake has fallen so much that the level of Most of the water consumption in drought-stricken Lake Mead became visible last week. The reservoir on the Colorado River behind the Hoover Dam is so depleted that Las Vegas is now pumping water from deeper within Lake Mead, which also extends into Arizona.

Spencer said personal items found inside the barrel indicated the person had died more than 40 years ago in the 1980s.

He declined to discuss the cause of death and refused to describe the items found, saying an investigation was underway.

Police plan to reach out to experts at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to analyze when the barrel started eroding. The Clark County Coroner’s Office will attempt to identify the person.

Boaters spotted the barrel on Sunday afternoon. National Park Service rangers searched an area near Hemenway harbor in the lake and found the barrel containing skeletal remains.

Lake Mead and Lake Powell are the largest man-made reservoirs in the United States, and are part of a system that supplies water to more than 40 million people, tribes, agriculture, and industry in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming and across the southern border into Mexico.