UTAH DROUGHT

Lake Powell is sitting low; this group is trying to raise the water levels

Jun 28, 2022, 11:30 AM

Low water levels are plaguing the Great Salt Lake for several summers now....

Low water levels are pictured in Lake Powell in Page, Ariz., on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021. Experts say the lake is approaching a dead pool. That's when the water is so low is can't flow downstream, which is causing concern over the future of the lake. (Kirstin Murphy/Deseret News)

(Kirstin Murphy/Deseret News)

LAKE POWELL, Utah — A group of people who regularly use Lake Powell for recreation wants to see the lake’s water levels increase by about 60 feet. 

The BlueRibbon Coalition wants to see the lake level set at 3,588 feet. That level is 60 feet higher than the level set by the drought contingency plan back in 2017. 

The group’s director, Ben Burr, said recreational users provide a lot of economic benefits.

“Recreation users are important,” Burr told KSL at Night. “They contribute huge economic value to the area surrounding Lake Powell.”

He also said increasing the levels would keep Lake Powell’s marinas open. Right now, several boat launch ramps are closed and a few are entirely inoperable because of the low water levels.

Dangling Rope Marina was particularly affected, remaining closed through 2022 after being closed in 2021.

“Right now, there’s only two open,” he said. “If we get to 3,588 that opens Antelope Point and some of the other marinas that make the lake more accessible.”

Burr said the BlueRibbon Coalition has been around for a while. But they’re new to the debate over how to manage the lake level. The coalition has historically represented off-road vehicle users and worked to maintain their access to public lands.

He said the Bureau of Reclamation has responded positively to their involvement.

Kira Hoffelmeyer contributed to this story.

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Lake Powell is sitting low; this group is trying to raise the water levels