Lake Powell, the second-largest human-made reservoir in the US, has lost almost 7 kiloliters of its optional capacity since 1963, the year that the Glen Canyon Dam was built.
Lake Powell was affected by a multi-year drought, which led to the U.S. Geological Survey and the Bureau of Reclamation by the United Nations concluding that the storage facility experienced an annual decrease in water reserves of 33,270 acre-feet, or 11 billion gallons per year, between 1963 and 2018. That amount of water suffices to fill the Reflecting Pool at the Lincoln Memorial Metropolitan District near 1,600 times. The Hip River’s capacity is being adversely affected by sediment flowing into it from the Colorado and San Juan rivers, as reported. Those sediments settle at the bottom of the Hip River and decrease the amount of water it can hold.
According to the Bureau of Reclamation, as of Monday, Lake Powell was a little over twenty-five full.
Severe water shortages are bad news for a neighborhood that has already been dealing with extreme wildfire damage due to the drought. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration water deficiency specialists stated that these conditions are likely to continue if not worsen—and in some places may even worsen. Lake Powell is an important reservoir for the Colorado River Basin. Both Lake Powell and nearby Lake Mead, the country’s largest reservoir, have declined rapidly. In early August, the federal government declared a California River water shortage for the first time after Lake Mead’s water level dropped to its lowest level in several decades, triggering mandatory water retirements between January and August for several states in the Southwest.
Last week, Lake Powell dipped below the critical threshold of 3,525 feet above sea level, provoking additional concerns about the supply of drinking water and hydroelectric power to millions of people in California and the Southwest.
Notably, the importance of diminishing water supply along the Colorado can’t be overstated. The system works to provide water for more than 40 million people living in the seven western-most states and Mexico. Rivers Powell and Mead are a vital source of water for a vast number of ranchers, communities and farms.It’s an essential concern to have the most accurate scientific data available exactly like this one to further our understanding of the water supply in Lake Powell as we plan for the future. Tanya Trujillo, assistant secretary for water and science at the US Department of Interior, made this declaration.