Fill #LakePowell? Coalition calling for more #water to be stored in the reservoir faces tough road ahead — #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

Click here to go to the Fill Lake Powell website:

Glen Canyon Dam created an opportunity. At the time of its construction, this opportunity was sometimes viewed in terms of water storage, power generation and flood control. Recreation on newly-formed Lake Powell, while clearly envisioned as a planned benefit, was perceived by some as a byproduct of the other reasons the dam was built, rather than as a primary purpose. That perception must change to align with current realities.

Lake Powell, which was once a remote but breathtaking recreational outpost with little supporting infrastructure, had by 2019 become a $420 million economic engine each year, and that’s just from direct revenue generated, not even counting any multiplier effect in the region. Annual visitation, which in 1967 was under 500,000, had increased eight-fold by the end of the second decade of the 21st century. By 2019, recreation on Lake Powell was producing more revenue than the power generated through the dam, a trend that will likely continue as other new energy options present themselves, but only if—and this is the crucial part—Lake Powell and its supporting infrastructure continue to exist and be maintained.

Water supply issues are evolving as well. Water rights have been well-established, and the seven states in the Upper and Lower Basin, along with Mexico, work closely with the Bureau of Reclamation to manage water supply based on a series of laws and protocols first established a century ago. But the legal framework they operate under no longer works as intended, especially as long-term drought has gripped the region, especially in the 21st century. As water supply from the Colorado River has become less reliable, water managers in those states will become more creative with conservation practices while working to develop new supplies through recycled water, desalination opportunities, and engineered solutions.

As the need to focus on water and power from the Colorado River system continues to diminish, the importance of recreational opportunities only increases. Lake Powell is a unique resource not just in the country, but in the entire world: a desert oasis providing unlikely access to some of the most beautiful canyons on the planet, while providing a haven for anglers, campers, hikers and anybody with a camera. It’s an international treasure.

As times have changed, so must the focus of those who manage the lake. Priorities change. The purpose of the dam and the lake it created have evolved. While there are loud and persistent voices who see draining the lake as the only reasonable path forward, we offer an alternative vision. Now is the time to Fill Lake Powell.

23 thoughts on “Fill #LakePowell? Coalition calling for more #water to be stored in the reservoir faces tough road ahead — #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

  1. This problem is not carbon related its mismanagement by the bureaucracy of Rec and money. They want the Carbon Tax at all cost and proof of that is we have built pipelines across America and could fill the western lakes from whats never used or needed just from the Mississippi River or Columbia. So be assured the environmental movement ” B O Rec would kill the idea.

    1. As being from the midwest and living within the areas used by the Mississippi River, I can Honestly say, you abused your own water resources……get your own. The west for years has squandered away their water in a desert location when you should have been conserving it all along. Not to mention why try to steal it from another region when you clearly have the largest water resource on the planet in the Pacific Ocean sitting right there??? Oh wait, I forgot you guys don’t want to work for it, you would rather just take or strip it from someone else and use it just like you did the Colorado River…. Let’s not actually fix the issue at all…..

  2. If it gets filled some community will run a pipe line over and start depleting it

      1. Did you know Colorado Springs gets water from pipelines from the Frying Pan river above Basalt CO. It was built in the 70s. How full would Lake Powell be if the pipe lines were closed.

  3. Live in the desert, destroy the environment, then destroy other’s. Selfish.

    1. This Save Lake Powell Movement is misguided or misinformed because it is as through they haven’t paid any attention to the current circumstances. The ongoing drought which has been going on for some 20 years is probably the biggest reason for the rapid decline of the lake. Add to that the over allocation to the many interests throughout the southwest which of course includes supporting Lake Mead’s water level.

      No where in the Save Lake Powell Movement statement is there a hint of idea how the lake can be saved which to me suggests a group that is misguide or misinformed as I said at the outset of this comment.

      1. Michael,
        Thanks for commenting.

        The situation at Lake Mead and Lake Powell is a combination of circumstances and there is no easy solution. The lower basin (Ag, municipalities, and industry) and USBR (hydropower) are responsible for the draining of the reservoirs however. The upper basin has had to deal with droughts off and on and then the Compact requires a volume of water instead of a percentage of inflows to Lake Powell. To further complicate things lower basin allocations are being used for animal feed in Japan and China so they are exporting the water out of basin. Another complication is that most of the winter vegetables consumed in the U.S. come from the lower Colorado River Basin and I love to eat, as most of us do.

        What a damn mess!

        John Orr

  4. To use an old Sam Kinison bit, don’t send aid, send luggage. You live in a desert. Not particularly brilliant, but you can fix the problem with a U Haul.

    1. I’m so tired of people commenting about us “stupid” people living in the desert. It’s a great place to live! None of the other natural disasters occur here besides obviously drought. I’ve lived in Missouri and it was very scary having to live in relative fear of tornadoes and it’s not even in tornado alley! Floods abound in the Southeast and eastern seaboard. Hurricanes too. And let’s not forget, there’s basically no bugs here. No mosquitoes, chiggers, fleas, etc. It’s very hot 3 months outta the year, but the rest is fine. We’re a civilized and technically advanced society (most times). We have the know how to move water from one place to the next. And desalination has come a long way too. There’s no reason people can’t live in the desert. Plus, it’s great that y’all have your quiet little towns to yourselves, right? That would definitely change if we all moved back🙂

      1. Rightio bro! All they need to do is take some of that heavy duty rainfall coming off of Mississippi and flooding all of that south, and pipe it to lake Powell! It’s a simple solution. And it’s a win-win for everyone!

    1. Yes, I lived on the Az/Mex border. It was lush until the cotton growers pumped water for their crops. Everything south I-8 went to hell.

  5. Ah, the promised land…Moved back east 10 years ago and my recollection is everything there bites, stings or sticks, the scorpions snakes and every spider is out for revenge and the dry heat ain’t so dry during monsoon.
    Meh, loved every minute of it, few were concerned about the water but inside we knew the fan was turning…

  6. When people learn to conserve the resources instead of burning through them and demanding more from others like it is owed to them, then people don’t mind sharing and helping. When you take care of something you are given, others tend to be more generous with their extra. We need food production. But we don’t see the need to waste precious water on extravagant landscape.

    1. Sally Ann,
      Thanks for commenting.

      Municipal use in the basin is low compared to Ag use but I agree that the image of lush lawns and tropical landscapes sets the wrong tone for basin-wide conservation. However, the Colorado River Basin will not come back into balance without big sacrifices from Ag.

      Have you had a chance to read “Doughnut Economics” by Kate Raworth? That’s where I want us to be, living comfortably within the doughnut instead of the endless pursuit of growth that exceeds the carrying capacity of the Earth.

      John Orr

  7. It’s seems rather apparent what the solution is. It’s a series of strategicly located desalination plants, pipelines and pump stations powered with solar arrays
    natural gas backup and even water turbines on downhill runs. It’s the southwest and solar would work great.

  8. Read an article about Las Vegas has been very conservative on the water and California has used more since they told the to conserve. Vegas had invested into better resources and California has not so with that said it sounds like California is to blame.

    1. Nick,
      Thanks for commenting. Arizona, California, and USBR have drained Lake Mead and Lake Powell and USBR is dropping levels in the rest of the reservoir in the Colorado River System. La Vegas has the smallest allocation on the river and therefore they foresaw the problems earlier.

      John Orr

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