LAKE POWELL, Utah (ABC4) — A recently completed improvement project at the Glen Canyon Dam is helping nearby communities to keep water access at the plummeting Lake Powell reservoir.
Even with our incredible start to the winter season Utah continues to see drought conditions statewide. The state’s reservoirs have been hit very hard in recent drought years — Lake Powell in particular.
Lake Powell has been steadily declining for decades due to high water use and extended drought. Right now, the lake is sitting at just 22% of its capacity and is 11 feet lower than this time last year. It’s forecasted to drop even more through the end of the month, potentially threatening water supply lines for the surrounding communities.
The reservoir is sitting at an elevation of 3,524 feet and it is 176 feet down from being full. Currently, the reservoir at Glen Canyon Dam is 34 feet shy of ‘power pool depth’ — any lower than that, and the dam would no longer be able to produce hydroelectric power. If the lake dropped to power pool levels, local communities would lose access to water as well. And that’s particularly bad news for Page, Ariz., which lies just to the south of the dam.
The Bureau of Reclamation had a proposal, however, that would add additional access for Page’s Municipal Water System to the lowermost points of Glen Canyon Dam.
“The bureau reached out to us, and unbeknownst to us they had been looking at how they could help the drought situation,” said Page, Ariz., Mayor Bill Diak. We met with them, and they made a presentation about how they wanted to rework plumbing in the dam to allow greater depth to the city water supply, by tapping into other pipes lower in the system, and plumbing it right back to where the city’s normal water pickup would be.”
It turned out to be the right solution for the City of Page, the mayor said.
“We thought that would be fantastic,” says Diak, “because that would guarantee our depth and we wouldn’t have to worry about drought so much. We still have to worry about it, but it’s getting us some comfort room.”
Work on the project began in September 2022 and was completed last month. All the supplies and labor costs for the added valve were covered by the City of Page. This new access point down gives them an additional 100 feet of buffer from the previous lower access point.
For more information on the project visit: https://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/news-release/4405