The satellites began taking photos of the southern Utah reservoir lake on March 18 with the final photo being taken on July 16. According to the Lake Powell Water Database, the elevation of the reservoir changed from 3520.81 feet to 3584.02 feet – about a 64-foot difference.
Overall, Lake Powell has risen about 43.85 feet from one year ago. The rise in the water levels at Lake Powell can be attributed to the historic 2022/23 winter season. Snowpack peaked at 160% of normal in the central Colorado Rockies, which melted into dams that flowed into the Colorado River.
Utah alone reached a snow water equivalent of 30 inches – breaking a 40-year-old record in the state. In March, just before the European Space Agency began its timelapse, the International Space Station passed over northern Utah, showing a brilliant blanket of white snow.
The Lake Powell Reservoir serves as a “vast bank account” of water for continued years of drought, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The water storage provides the Upper Basin states of Utah, Wyoming, Colorado and Mexico to use water from the Colorado River while still providing water to the Lower Basin states of Arizona, California and Nevada.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said the water storage in Lake Powell is especially critical to drought conditions. The overwhelming amount of snow allowed for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to release water through the Glen Canyon Dam at Lake Powell, benefitting Lake Mead downriver.
However, as summer heat set in for southern Utah and northern Arizona, the water levels have begun to decline. Albeit a slow decline, from its peak of 3584.68 feet on July 8, Lake Powell has reportedly dropped to 3579.9 feet as of Aug. 2.