The head of England’s River Thames dried up Thursday for the first time ever as record heat and droughts take their toll on major rivers and bodies of water around the world.

Key Facts

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The source of the Thames moved more than two miles downstream, The Guardian reportedas portions of England’s iconic river dried, following an extreme July heat wave that set record highs across Europe.

Water levels in Italy’s Po River, meanwhile, hit a record low in the wake of the country’s worst drought in 70 years, accelerated by abnormally high temperatures, as Italy’s government declared a state of emergency in what former Prime Minister Mario Draghi called the “most serious water crisis” in seven decades.

In the United States, scientists in Albuquerque hastened to save minnows as the northern stretch of the Rio Grande was reduced into a shallow stream, the Associated Press reported,

Portions of the Colorado River, which have faced drought conditions for decades and reduced water levels from irrigation, are at a greater risk of drying up, scientists sayas droughts continue throughout the Southwest.

Droughts in the western United States have also brought Nevada’s Lake Mead and Utah’s Lake Powell to record lows, threatening to stunt hydroelectric energy production. A 22-year drought has exposed more than 700 square miles of Great Salt Lake, reducing fish and migratory bird habitat and releasing toxic dust into the air around Salt Lake City.

Even in the Northeast, drought and high temperatures have reportedly caused a six-foot drop in water levels in some parts of Massachusetts’ Charles River.

Key Background

Nearly 70% of the western US and southern plains are facing droughts, according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report, That's largely driven by climate change, as heat waves become more intense and more frequent, the Environmental Protection Agency found, Scientists warn droughts and heat waves accelerated by climate change can have devastating effects on the plant and animal species that inhabit rivers and streams that run dry, and some of those effects, especially in the drought-stricken West, have already begun, according to an April report from NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Protection. That report also found the West is facing its "most extensive and intense" drought since the agency started monitoring drought conditions 22 years ago.

What To Watch For

More excessive heat. Some 73 million people are under heat alerts Thursday and that number could climb as temperatures are expected to reach the upper 90s across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, while the Southwest will battle temperatures in the 100s.

Western US Drafted Approaches Historic Levels - Here's Why That Matters To You (Forbes)

The Economic Realities Of Heat Waves (Forbes)

Source of River Thames dries out 'for first time' during drought (The Guardian)