SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will reduce water releases from the Glen Canyon Dam starting today to help protect water levels at Lake Powell, the country’s second-largest artificial reservoir in the country, until the spring runoff.
The monthly adjustments, which run from December 2022 to April 2023, will hold back 523,000 acre-feet of water in the reservoir situated on the Colorado River. The bureau said the same amount of water will then be added to Lake Mead between June 2023 and September 2023 after the spring runoff.
These adjustments will reportedly boost the reservoir’s elevation by nearly 10 feet by April 2023. Recent surveys have found that Lake Powell is dropping below its target elevation of 3,525 feet.
These actions are in line with the Drought Response Operations Agreement, which was signed in 2019 by the Upper Basin States of the Colorado River to protect Lake Powell. Following a 2022 plan, federal and state partners are developing a Drought Response Operations Plan for 2023 to include information about additional water releases to Lake Powell.
“We’ll continue to work with our basin partners in the future in the same collaborative spirit we have demonstrated in the past,” said Jaci Gould, Reclamation’s Lower Colorado Basin Regional Director.
The bureau said President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act provided the necessary resources to back up its commitment to work on a long-term plan to protect the Colorado River system.