Drought? Lake Powell has gone down 16 ft. this year. What happens if it reaches the point of no return?

Glen Canyon Dam, Colorado River, Arizona. Getty Images

Revelation 16:9 “They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory.”

Important Takeaways:

  • What happens if Lake Powell runs out of water?
  • The lake was just under 24 percent full as of last week, and had lost 16 feet in the last year. Its depth level currently stands at around 3,530 feet.
  • How much power does the lake generate?
    • Northern Arizona’s Glen Canyon Dam, which creates the lake, has a full capacity of 1,320 megawatts, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. However, the receding water levels have already greatly reduced the reservoir’s generating capacity, to about 800 megawatts—about 60 percent.
  • How many people rely on it?
    • Lake Powell generates power for about 5.8 million households and businesses in Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.
  • What’s the point of no return?
    • “We know that we’ll lose hydropower, and they won’t be able to make hydropower below 3,490,”
    • If the lake’s levels drop below 3,490, Hawes added, the Bureau of Reclamation will have to run water through a series of river outlet tubes, the lowest delivery mechanism in the lake, for the first time since the 1980s, and bureau officials “don’t actually know if they can handle that much water,”
  • The Glen Canyon Institute has advocated for draining Lake Powell, both to replenish Lake Mead and to restore Glen Canyon, which was flooded to create Lake Powell.

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