LAKE POWELL, Utah (ABC4) – Utah water experts say Lake Powell’s levels are dire, despite a recent influx after the Bureau of Reclamation released water from Flaming Gorge.
Just this morning, the commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation testified stating the concerning hydrology.
It’s been about a month since officials agreed to release water from Flaming Gorge to Lake Powell to prop up levels as they’ve been dangerously low.
“Combination of snowmelt runoff and the releases out of Flaming Gorge, Lake Powell is at 27% full,” says Amy Haas, the Executive Director for Colorado River Authority of Utah.
Haas says this is a ‘system out of balance’ saying officials need to start thinking about lasting operations for Lake Powell.
“We’re chasing this emergent hydrology and so we come up with these band-aid solutions, we’ve seen releases at Flaming Gorge that will address the current low reservoir elevations at Lake Powell and we also saw the secretary of interior who said I’m going to hold back water at Lake Powell so those two things combined should shore up the solutions for this year, but we’re limping along,” she says.
Haas says Lake Powell and Lake Mead’s storage combined is less than the capacity of one of them.
“We’ve seen the latest projections from the Bureau of Reclamation, projecting inflows to be on the order of 58% of average into Lake Powell for this water year, so it’s really dire,” she says.
Haas says there was a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee this morning, where the commissioner of reclamation testified due to the low levels.
“This is Camille Touton and she made a pretty alarming call, saying we’ve got to address the hydrology, we’ve got to reduce our uses, on the order of between 2 and 4 million acre-feet on this river, in the coming year,” she says,
Boat ramps have opened since Lake Powell’s levels have propped up against it and in 11 months, Haas says there will be another release, but it will only be half of the amount compared to May.