Feds suspend measures that were meant to boost #water levels at #drought-stricken #LakePowell — CNN #FlamingGorge #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification #snowpack (March 8, 2023)

West snowpack basin-filled map March 7, 2023 via the NRCS.

Click the link to read the article on the CNN website (Ella Nilsen). Here’s an excerpt:

Starting Tuesday [March 7, 2023], the US Bureau of Reclamation will suspend extra water releases from Utah’s Flaming Gorge reservoir – emergency measures that had served to help stabilize the plummeting water levels downstream at Lake Powell, the nation’s second largest reservoir…

The decision to suspend the monthly water releases, which were slated to continue through April, comes in the wake of a winter that has brought well above-average snowfall and precipitation in much of the West, which state and federal officials are hoping will buy them some more time as they scramble to come to an agreement on significant water usage cuts from the Colorado River Basin. The suspension of Flaming Gorge releases was initially requested by four states in the upper Colorado River Basin – Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico. The system is like a water loan program from Flaming Gorge to Lake Powell “in times of crisis,” said Chuck Cullom, executive director of the Upper Colorado River Commission.

“With snowpack in the upper Colorado River system running upwards of 130% of the 30-year median, we have a unique opportunity – perhaps once-a-decade opportunity – to repay the loan,” Cullom told CNN. “Aridity is our present and future and we’re trying to adapt to this unique set of circumstances.”

Map credit: AGU

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