Lake McConaughy Below Capacity and Falling

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Lower water levels at Lake McConaughy in western Nebraska could be the new normal.

The lake is Nebraska's biggest, supplying water for a variety of uses, including recreation, irrigation and power generation.

The water supply is tied to the snowmelt. It was nearly full last year, thanks to an above-average snowpack in Wyoming and a late melt.

It won't happen this year. The Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District says Tuesday that an early melt from a well-below-normal snowpack is to blame.

The district says the lake is at 82 percent of capacity and falling. The lake's lowest reading of 18 percent was in 2004 as drought gripped the region.

District engineer Cory Steinke says the lake is in decent shape now, but future levels are uncertain.