LAKE POWELL, Utah (ABC4) – Drought conditions have continued to plague Utah and many other states.
Lake Powell water levels are at a historic low so states such as Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico have come together to allocate water from different locations and direct the water toward Lake Powell.
The 2022 Drought Response Operations has authorized a release of 500,000 acre-feet from Flaming Gorge Dam, as well as possible releases from Blue Mesa Reservoir in Colorado and a Navajo reservoir in New Mexico if needed later in the year.
The release of water from Flaming Gorge is anticipated to begin May 1, 2022, and run through April 30, 2023.
“The water level at Lake Powell has dropped much more rapidly than our models anticipated and has made it necessary for us to take expedited measures to address the situation,” said Gene Shawcroft, Chair of the Colorado River Authority of Utah and Utah’s River Commissioner. “Fortunately, our sister states in the Upper Colorado River basin and the Bureau of Reclamation have recognized the severity of the situation and we were able to form a plan for the next 12-month period that is in everyone’s best interest.”
This decision comes just days after a decision was made by the Department of Interior to reduce the amount of water released from Lake Powell.
Water from Flaming Gorge will travel south into Glen Canyon Dam, flowing into the Green River, then the Colorado River and finally into Lake Powell.
Flaming Gorge has not been as heavily impacted by the drought and is currently at 80% capacity.