OUTDOORS + RECREATION

Lake Powell’s water levels are dropping after months of increase

Jul 14, 2023, 11:00 AM

With Lake Powell's water levels increasing all year, it's hard to believe that they may be in dange...

FILE: Lake Powell on March 27, 2022 in Page, Arizona.(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

SOUTHERN UTAH— Since Lake Powell’s water levels have been increasing all year, it’s hard to believe that better water levels may be in danger.

They are, and it’s thanks to the heat.

Earlier this year, Lake Powell’s water levels were the lowest on record. Now, the lake is 45 feet higher than it was at this time last year. In fact, KSL NewsRadio reported that the runoff from this year’s snowpack could be enough to keep the lake in good standing for a couple of years. 

Now, an extreme heat wave is crossing the American southwest. And the lake has had several days where it’s losing water instead of gaining it. 

Where Lake Powell water levels are today is where they’ll stay, until they decrease

According to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Utah has entered the “base flow period,” where water that emptied into lakes from rivers and streams is not comprised of spring runoff.  Lake Powell’s water levels won’t increase again until next year’s spring runoff season.

Less water isn’t uncommon, water levels tend to decrease in the lake beginning in June or July. This year, the decrease is happening a few weeks later than it did in 2021 and 2022.

However, temperatures rising into the triple digits will speed up the evaporation process, and the progress we’ve made this year could be mitigated by more hot summers like this. 

Related reading: 

 

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Lake Powell’s water levels are dropping after months of increase