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The top image is a 1999 painting by Robert Beckmann, which captures, with his typical precision, the relatively water-rich state of the Las Vegas Wash some 16 years ago. Earlier this year, Beckmann returned to the same site with Desert Companion designer Brent Holmes, who took a photo documenting the alarming drop in the water level since then. Says Beckmann, "H2Omg!"

The wash

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