skip to main content

Thursday, June 1, 2023

play newscast audioPlay

WI working family advocates shine a spotlight on Reps' voting records; a new report says that Phoenix area can't meet groundwater demands; Nevada sporting community sends top 10 priorities to Gov. Lombardo's desk.

play newscast audioPlay

The Senate aims to get the debt limit spending bill to President Biden's desk quickly, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis makes a campaign stop in Iowa, and a new survey finds most straight adults support LGBTQ+ rights.

play newscast audioPlay

Oregon may expand food stamp eligibility to some undocumented households, rural areas have a new method of accessing money for roads and bridges, and Tennessee's new online tool helps keep track of cemetery locations.

Falling Lake Powell Water Levels Put Wyoming Hydro Power at Risk

play audio
Play

Tuesday, February 7, 2023   

Part of the deal Wyoming struck for sending its water down the Colorado River was that state residents would be able to tap electricity generated at Glen Canyon Dam. But that arrangement is becoming less tenable as water levels at Lake Powell required for hydro-power production continue to drop.

Sinjin Eberle, southwest communications director with the group American Rivers, explained in order to be able to generate electricity, Lake Powell can drop no lower than 3,490 feet.

"Figuring out how we're going to manage this system in the face of a much smaller river is what everybody in the Colorado River Basin, whether you are in Wyoming or California, need to be concerned about," Eberle said.

Glen Canyon Dam currently generates energy for nearly 6-million households in Wyoming, Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. Lake Powell water levels dropped to their lowest point since 1967 last summer, reaching 3,533 feet, and some warn the lake could dip below levels necessary for power generation as early as this spring, and have proposed demolishing the dam to help restore the Colorado River's health and long-term viability.

If Lake Powell drops below Dead Power to Dead Pool status at 3,370 feet, water would no longer be able to flow through the dam to lower basin states. This year's higher-than-average snow pack may provide short-term relief, but Eberle said it could take years of above-average precipitation to reverse decades of drought across the region, and added the challenges facing Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam are multi-faceted.

"Water-supply issues from a lingering 23-year drought, with impacts from climate change continuing to exacerbate those drought conditions," Eberle said. "And then (we have) some of the fastest growing areas of the country demanding more water."

When the Colorado River Compact was first negotiated in 1922, there were just 475,000 people living in the seven-state basin. Then-Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover projected that population could swell to two million people over time. But there are now at least 40-million people across the basin that depend on water from the river, Eberle said.

"This framework that was built in 1922 has lasted 100 years, but is also trying to support a system that is many, many times larger than the wildest imaginations of the framers when they built this compact," he said.

Disclosure: American Rivers contributes to our fund for reporting on Environment, Public Lands/Wilderness, Salmon Recovery, Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
A new park, San Vicente Redwoods, opened up late last year near Santa Cruz, Calif., in an area previously ravaged by fire and logging. (Nadia Hamey)

Environment

play sound

This Saturday, June 3, thousands of Californians will be among hundreds of thousands of Americans heading into the great outdoors to celebrate …


Social Issues

play sound

A coalition of Wisconsin groups is asking Gov. Tony Evers to reject bills it contends would make it harder for people struggling to get by to bounce …

Social Issues

play sound

Two months from today, Minnesota will begin the process of removing low-level marijuana convictions for those who have them on their criminal records…


Alabama is one of only three states still applying its full state sales tax on the purchase of groceries and food items. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

Groups working to fight poverty in Alabama are urging state senators to approve a bill aimed at lowering food costs for families. House Bill 479 …

Social Issues

play sound

Navigating college can seem overwhelming for first generation students, but an early outreach program at Arizona State University aims to change it…

Nebraska was one of 10 states to further restrict abortion access in the 2023 legislative session. At least 48 bills were passed involving restrictions for LGBTQ+ individuals. (Yurii Kibalnik/Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

play sound

A new Nebraska law is now the subject of a lawsuit filed in the District Court of Lancaster County. In its amended form, Legislative Bill 574 …

Social Issues

play sound

A proposal from the federal government could provide a better path toward student loan debt repayment, but a new survey finds many borrowers don't …

Environment

play sound

Maine lawmakers are considering two pieces of legislation which supporters said are needed to ensure "responsible" development of offshore wind projec…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021