In #Arizona, one utility has a front row seat to #ColoradoRiver crisis — KUNC #COriver #aridification #CRWUA2022

Page, Arizona. By PRA – Own work, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2201737

Click the link to read the article on the KUNC website (Alex Hager). Here’s an excerpt:

As the once-mighty Colorado dries up at the hands of a changing climate, communities that rely on it are starting to feel the pinch. Many large cities in the Southwest are well-positioned to weather the growing crisis, but some smaller ones have a perilous front row seat as the shrinking river threatens to cut off their water supply completely. Page is one of them. [Tobyn] Pilot pointed down towards Glen Canyon Dam, a 700-foot-tall concrete behemoth that looms large in the background.

“There’s a pipeline that’s bored through the cliff of Glen Canyon,” Pilot said. “It comes to the edge, just past us here, and goes straight up into another pipeline that goes up to our water plant.”

That pipe brings water up from the river hundreds of feet below, and carries it to the taps in homes, hotels and restaurants in this tourist town. But the system is under threat. Page pulls its water from Lake Powell, the nation’s second-largest reservoir…If the reservoir drops below Page’s current intake, water would flow through a set of backup pipes known as the “river outlet works.” Originally designed as a channel for extra water during high-flow times, those tubes, which are lower than the existing pass-through, could soon be the only way for water to make it through the dam. Without a fix, Lake Powell could have dropped low enough to cut off Page’s drinking water supply completely.

The back of Glen Canyon Dam circa 1964, not long after the reservoir had begun filling up. Here the water level is above dead pool, meaning water can be released via the river outlets, but it is below minimum power pool, so water cannot yet enter the penstocks to generate electricity. Bureau of Reclamation photo.

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