Lake Powell in Bullfrog, Utah is barely half-full and taking in less run-off than expected this year. The lake, used as a reservoir for keeping water for dry years in the Colorado River basin, is sparking debate over whether the shrinking water level is a positive.

Some prefer the new beaches for camping revealed by the sinking water levels. Others are grateful that the reservoir is fulfilling its duty by providing water to a thirsty region. However, some predict the reservoir will be nothing more than a puddle in a mere few years as a result of overuse and global warming.

In addition, the reservoir has become more dangerous as a result of the shrinking water supply. Boats have to travel longer distances across the water because commonly-used shortcuts are inaccessible and unreliable. The boat launch has already been extended twice in the past three years and will go out of business should the water level drop another 29 feet.

The levels mark a turn for the worse, as last year Lake Powell looked as though it may recover. However, experts now say 2005 was merely a break from an intense drought that began in 1999. Lake Powell has lost 45 percent of its water supply since then.

All reporting by Paul Foy of the Associated Press. Read the full story here.