UTAH DROUGHT

Lake Powell could rise 50 to 90 feet over the next few months

Apr 26, 2023, 5:00 PM | Updated: Oct 26, 2023, 1:06 pm

Federal water managers say they believe Lake Powell will rise anywhere between 50 and 90 feet this ...

The Glen Canyon Dam holds back the waters of Lake Powell in Page, Arizona on July 18, 2022. Federal Officials believe Lake Powell will rise another 50 to 90 feet by the end of June. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

(Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

LAKE POWELL — Federal water managers say they believe Lake Powell will rise anywhere between 50 and 90 feet this spring and summer after the nation’s second-largest reservoir dropped to its all-time low again earlier this year.

The reservoir’s water level rose to 3,524.2 feet elevation by Tuesday, representing about 22.7% capacity. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials say that the water levels could rise to anywhere between 3,575 feet and 3,615 feet by the end of June, according to an outlook published last week. The most probable scenario is that the reservoir jumps to 3,590 feet elevation, or about 65 feet, by June, before dropping to 3,573.47 feet elevation by the end of the year.

This graph shows the minimum (red), probable (green) and maximum (blue) outlooks for Lake Powell’s water levels this year. The most likely scenario is that it rises another 65 feet by the end of June (Photo: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation)

The lake would remain about 110 to 126.5 feet below full-pool status in the probable scenario but it would also place the reservoir between 80 and 100 feet above the minimum pool level needed to generate power.

The increase comes as the National Weather Service’s Colorado Basin River Forecast Center adjusted its snowmelt forecast to project that 1.3 million acre-feet worth of water will flow toward Lake Powell over the next few months, 177% of the average.

Lake Mead, located downstream from Lake Powell, is also expected to rise this year, though, how much it rises is more dependent on how much water is released from Lake Powell. Bureau officials did increase this month’s releases from 522,000 acre-feet to 910,000 acre-feet, while monthly releases over the next few months will be “adjusted as needed.”

It’s currently projected to end up at 1,068.05 feet elevation by the end of the year, which is about 33 feet higher than it was in March.

There’s much more to Carter Williams’s article, which you’ll find at KSL.com.

 

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Lake Powell could rise 50 to 90 feet over the next few months