HomeTravel NewsWater levels in Lake Powell dropped to a record low

    Water levels in Lake Powell dropped to a record low

    Lake Powell is the second largest man-made lake in the United States, after Lake Mead, located on the Colorado River, and is the dividing line between the two states of Utah and Arizona. The total area of Lake Powell is more than 65,000 hectares, many of which are located on the Utah side. The lake is 299 km long, 40 km wide with an average depth of 40 meters, of which the deepest point is up to 170 meters.

    Water levels in Lake Powell dropped

    Water levels in Lake Powell dropped to a record low, with continued pressure from climate change and steady demand pushing the nation’s second-largest reservoir to the lowest level since it was first filled in the 1960s.

    The lake fell to 3,522.16 feet above sea level, just below the previous record set in April 2022. The reservoir is currently about 22% full, and is expected to keep declining until around May, when mountain snowmelt rushes into the streams that flow into the lake.

    Even though strong snow and heavy rains have blanketed the West this winter, climate scientists say that one wet year won’t be nearly enough to substantially boost Lake Powell in the face of a 23-year megadrought.

    Water levels in Lake Powell dropped

    Lake Powell, which straddles the Arizona-Utah border, is fed by the Colorado River. Warming temperatures and abnormally dry conditions have cut into the river’s supplies, and the seven states that rely on its water have struggled to reduce demand. Not only has that dealt an alarming blow to the reliability of water supplies for 40 million people, but it threatens the ability to generate hydropower at Glen Canyon Dam, which holds back Lake Powell.

    Those dropping water levels have spawned a crisis for the Bureau of Reclamation, the federal agency that manages the West’s largest dams, including Glen Canyon Dam and the hydroelectric turbines within that generate power for 5 million people across seven states.

    At 3,490 feet, the “minimum power pool” level, the bureau may be unable to generate hydropower from the dam. At 3,370 feet, the reservoir hits “dead pool,” at which point water is no longer able to pass through the dam through gravity.

    Water levels in Lake Powell dropped

    At minimum power pool, water would drop below the intakes that pull water into hydroelectric turbines, allowing air pockets to enter the equipment. That could create tiny bursts of air, part of a process called “cavitation,” and damage the turbines.


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