UTAH DROUGHT

Lake Powell water levels could mean trouble for Southern Utah’s electricity

Mar 14, 2022, 4:14 PM | Updated: 8:28 pm

lake powell western water rights navajo nation glen canyon dam...

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

ST. GEORGE, Utah — St. George City officials are concerned about the sinking water levels of Lake Powell.

If Lake Powell falls 35 more feet, the Glen Canyon Dam will stop producing power for people across many states. St. George, among many other cities, gets power from the dam. According to St. George News, the dam is one of 2,500 projects placed along the Colorado River that provide power for the upper and lower Colorado River Basin.

According to Bob Martin with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which owns the dam, as many as 3 million customers across Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming and Utah could be affected.

Figuring out a plan of action for Lake Powell

Lake Powell’s water levels are expected to, at least temporarily, get too low to power Glen Canyon Dam. City officials have met to discuss what would happen if/when this became a reality. The city is revising its water-use ordinance, as well as meeting weekly to discuss how to conserve water to prevent Lake Powell from sinking any lower.

Martin says that the effort to conserve water will have to come from more than just the city officials.

“The less water being pulled out of Lake Powell [and Lake Mead], the better,” he said. “Everybody plays a part in this. [If] you live in the west, there is no escaping the fact that the water in the Colorado River is declining.”

While concerns over Lake Powell’s lowering water levels surround Glen Canyon Dam operations, Martin says one of the benefits of it is it’s cheap.

“Federal hydropower is a bargain to utility companies, just cause [of] our low overhead,” Martin said.

According to Martin, the real issue is that Lake Powell only rose two to three feet in 2021.

“Last year was just such a poor year for runoff,” Martin said. “What we’re seeing now is the effects from not getting that water.”

The St. George News reports that spring runoff will help refill Lake Powell and the Bureau intends to take measures to keep the lake full enough to power Glen Canyon Dam.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Utah Drought

Southern arm of Great Salt Lake...

Carter Williams, KSL.com

Great Salt Lake’s southern arm reaches ‘significant’ level as spring rise slows down

The southern arm of Great Salt Lake reached an optimal level this week however, experts believe the lake will recede this summer.

6 days ago

FILE: The Colorado River is pictured near Moab in Grand County on Friday, April, 26, 2024....

Adam Small

New study suggests climate change could help Colorado River

University of Colorado at Boulder researchers predict that climate change will increase precipitation in Upper Basin states like Utah.

12 days ago

great salt lake shown, lithium in the lake is attracting companies...

Adam Small

Great Salt Lake level reaches seven-year high

Great Salt Lake now sits at 4,195.1 feet above sea level, more than 6.5 feet higher than its all-time historic low in late 2022.

13 days ago

Deer Creek Reservoir in Wasatch County pictured....

Allessandra Harris Gurr

Average Utah reservoir level 30% higher than last year

The average reservoir in Utah is at 88% capacity or 30% higher than last year.

13 days ago

A man, who asked not to be named, walks with his umbrella under snow-covered trees at Liberty Park ...

Alexandrea Bonilla

Utah’s latest spring storm slows snowmelt, adds to snowpack

Some areas of Salt Lake County saw two inches of snow from this late spring storm in Utah.

15 days ago

FILE: Hay bales used for dust mitigation in a Salton Sea Management Program project are pictured on...

Carter Williams, KSL.com

As Great Salt Lake nears key level, Utah finds inspiration elsewhere to help lake’s recovery

The Great Salt Lake's southern arm reached 4,195 feet elevation at times over the stormy weekend as it nears reaching that figure daily for the first time in five years.

21 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

Lake Powell water levels could mean trouble for Southern Utah’s electricity