Lake Powell Levels Drop Catastrophically

Jacob Baird, Pawprint Staff Reporter

There is an ongoing drought in the Western United States, causing Lake Powell to lose a lot of water. Precipitation has been declining, leading to less water in areas already severely in need of it. As a result, lakes and rivers across the West have been beginning to dry up.

This has led to Powell’s potential storage capacity dropping 7% since 1963. However, even with this decreased potential storage, as of March 21st, the lake was only 25% full.

Lake Powell is responsible for many areas’ water supply and powers Glen Canyon Dam. The energy from Glen Canyon is critical to nearby Native American tribes and rural towns. With the decreased supply of both water and power, the impact on locals could be quite dangerous, as both water and power are necessities for continued function.

Powell isn’t the only sign of this problem, however. Nearby reservoir Lake Mead, connected to Powell via the Colorado River system, also has experienced shortages.

“It is vitally important we have the best-available scientific information like this report to provide a clear understanding of water availability in Lake Powell as we plan for the future,” said US Department of Interior secretary Tanya Trujillo in a statement. “The Colorado River system faces multiple challenges, including the effects of a 22-year-long drought and the increased impacts of climate change.”

The impact of this drought will include a reduction in power in the surrounding small towns and reservations and a lack of drinking and irrigation water throughout the West.