Drought and demand threaten a critical component of the Western grid as Lake Powell approaches minimum power pool for the first time.
Lake Mead and Lake Powell could reach water levels low enough to halt hydropower production.
Lake Powell will receive 1 million acre-feet of water from the Colorado River as a short-term solution to drought, boosting lake levels and protecting hydropower production.
The drought pool would be filled voluntarily, largely by farmers and ranchers, who would be paid to temporarily dry up their fields.
Drought and climate change are raising concerns that a century-old compact that divided the river’s waters could force unwelcome cuts in use for the upper watershed.
Last update: September 21, 2022 Percent of total capacity Source: US Bureau of Reclamation
The releases from Flaming Gorge, Blue Mesa and Navajo reservoirs are designed to bolster hydropower production at the ailing Lake Powell.
In an effort to prop up water levels at Lake Powell, water managers are negatively impacting recreation on Colorado’s biggest man-made lake.
A federal agency aims to offset rising costs linked to Lake Powell’s inability to produce as much hydropower due to drought.
The crisis on the Colorado River is not waiting for the state of Colorado to develop a program to avoid water shortages.