UTAH DROUGHT

Glen Canyon Dam still generating power as California dam shuts down

Aug 6, 2021, 3:37 PM
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Aerial view of Glen Canyon Dam, Glen Canyon Dam Bridge, the Colorado River, and Highway 89 at the edge of Lake Powell on the Utah/Arizona border. Photo credit: Getty Images

PAGE, Ariz. — Glen Canyon Dam still has enough water to keep providing power, officials say. 

Oroville, the dam upstream on the Feather River from Sacramento, California, had to shut down its power generation system this week because the water level dropped below the minimum level to continue operating.

That had Utahns wondering whether the Glen Canyon Dam at Lake Powell might be in a similar situation. The good news? Not yet, and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is working to keep that from happening.

Glen Canyon still above “minimum power pool” level

The Bureau reports today’s water level at Lake Powell is 3553.18 feet, which is 63 feet above what’s called the “minimum power pool” level. If the lake dropped below that point, the Glen Canyon Dam would no longer be able to generate electricity. The generators at Glen Canyon serve customers across the West with a capacity of more than a million kilowatts.

The Bureau is working to maintain water levels at Lake Powell by releasing water from upstream reservoirs such as Flaming Gorge. It plans to continue those releases through the end of 2021.

Related: Glen Canyon Dam needs more water to keep producing power

The Bureau says the heavy rainfall over parts of southern Utah this past week may have made a small difference in slowing the decline in Lake Powell’s water level, but didn’t increase it.

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Glen Canyon Dam still generating power as California dam shuts down