UTAH DROUGHT

Glen Canyon Dam needs more water to keep producing power

Jul 20, 2021, 3:40 PM | Updated: 5:17 pm
Glen Canyon Dam water levels low...
The Glen Canyon Dam is pictured in Page, Ariz., on Sunday, March 28, 2021. Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

PAGE, Ariz. — The continuing drought in Utah and across the West has federal authorities releasing water from reservoirs on the Colorado River System in order to keep Lake Powell at an energy-producing level for Glen Canyon Dam.

Flaming Gorge Reservoir is the largest upstream reservoir from Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River. Its water level is now at 83%. So, the Bureau of Reclamation plans to release enough water to drop the level of Flaming Gorge Reservoir by about 4 feet.

“Lake Powell currently sits at 3,556 feet, that’s its elevation. That means it’s at 35% capacity. That’s 50 feet lower than the lake was a year ago,” said Greg Skordas, a guest host Tuesday on KSL NewsRadio’s Dave and Dujanovic.

Water level at Glen Canyon Dam critically low

“There’s a critical level of 3,520 feet … which we’re only 30 feet away from,” Skordas said.

Once Lake Powell reaches 3,520 feet, the power generators no longer receive enough water to continue to operate at Glen Canyon Dam. 
The Salt Lake Tribune reported that levels at two other upstream reservoirs will also be lowered. It’s a plan that the Bureau said it has had in place for years.

But environmental groups said the plan is akin to “robbing Peter to Pay Paul,” and does not account for the long-term reality of climate change.

Contributing: Simone Seikaly

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Glen Canyon Dam needs more water to keep producing power