US Takes Unprecedented Steps to Replenish Lake Powell from the Colorado River

US Takes Unprecedented Steps to Replenish Lake Powell from the Colorado River

May 3 (Reuters) – (This May 3 story corrects conversion of acre-feet to 1.23 million litres, not 1.48 million litres, in paragraph 5)

U.S. officials on Tuesday announced unprecedented measures to raise water levels in Lake Powell, a man-made reservoir on the Colorado River that is so low it is endangering hydroelectric power generation in seven western states.

Amid a prolonged drought exacerbated by climate change, the Bureau of Reclamation will release an additional 500,000 acre-feet (616.7 million cubic meters) of water from the Flaming Gorge Reservoir upstream at the Wyoming-Utah border this year. which will flow into Lake Powell.

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An additional 480,000 acre-feet that would otherwise have been released downstream will be held back in the man-made lake on the Utah-Arizona border, officials said.

“We’ve never taken this step before in the Colorado River Basin, but the conditions we see today and the potential risk we see on the horizon demand that we take quick action,” said Tanya Trujillo. , Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior for Water and Science. told reporters.

One acre-foot, or about 326,000 gallons (1.23 million liters), is enough water to supply one or two households for a year.

Lake Powell’s additional 980,000 acre-feet, formed when the Colorado River was dammed in northern Arizona in the 1960s, will help keep Glen Canyon Dam’s hydroelectric output in line, increasing the record low area of the 16-foot (4.88-meter) tank, the office said.

If Lake Powell, America’s second-largest reservoir, were to drop another 32 feet, the 1,320-megawatt plant would be unable to generate electricity for millions of people in Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and Nebraska.

The western United States experienced the driest period on record in the past two decades. Some experts say the term drought is inappropriate because it suggests conditions will return to normal.

“We will never see these reservoirs fill again in our lifetimes,” said Denielle Perry, a professor in the School of Earth and Sustainability at Northern Arizona University.

The new measures will put more pressure on Lake Mead, the nation’s largest reservoir, which is downstream of Lake Powell and also at an all-time high. Lake Mead, formed by the Hoover Dam in the 1930s and crucial to the water supply of 25 million people, has sunk so low that a barrel containing human remains, believed to date from the 1980s, was found on Sunday on the receding shore. Read more

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Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Donna Bryson and Sandra Maler

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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