Lake Powell, the 25 million acre-foot reservoir formed by Glen Canyon Dam in 1968, is now less than half full.
It’s not a philosophical question about the reservoir being half empty or half full. It didn’t fill up last year. Since the drought of 2002, it’s draining faster than it’s filling. While water experts admit there are lot of “ifs” in their calculations, they are beginning to get concerned. Eagle County’s Eagle River is a tributary of the Colorado River.
If the drought, now in its third year, continues at current rates -and forecasts vary – the huge lake could be drained by 2010
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An artificial lake in the desert, amidst golf courses and swimming pools, is drying up. Shocking!
For readers, this article is from 2004.
The creation of Glen Canyon Dam has had a big impact on the Grand Canyon:
I have a book of stunning pictures of Glen Canyon before it was flooded by the dam.
Just unbeleivable rock formations, vistas and rarities that were destroyed once the dam went into operation. Even if Lake Powell was drained and Glen Canyon left back to natural processes, it would never revert to what it was before. Water storage has an effect on the sandstone staining and degrading its integrity. To say nothing of the sediment building in the depths of Lake Powell.
Sediment that should have been washing down through the Grand Canyon.
GC Dam, besides being used for creating the boaters paradise, also generates electricity.
“The Glen Canyon Powerplant, at the toe of the dam, consists of eight generators, driven by eight 155,500-horsepower turbines. Total nameplate generating capacity for the powerplant is 1,296,000 kilowatts.” http://www.usbr.gov/projects/Powerplant.jsp?fac_Name=Glen+Canyon+Powerplant
Ironically, not too far away is the Kayenta Coal Mine at Black Mesa operated by Peabody.
Coal is burned at an electrical generating station at Paige, Az, it generates “more than 2,250 megawatts of affordable and reliable electricity for businesses and households across the Southwest.” http://www.peabodyenergy.com/content/276/Publications/Fact-Sheets/Kayenta-Mine
Eliot Porter no doubt.
The water in the Grand Canyon used to be warm and silty, now it is clear and cold.
Yes. The Place No One Knewmine is the abridged 1968 Sierra Club-Ballantine ed. $3.95 (!)
I rented a boat, and cruised to Rainbow Bridge back in 2000, and we used the coal plant’s smoke stacks as our reference point for returning to the marina. I remember shaking me head at the golf course by the hotel, with sprinklers running nonstop.
And the lake is full of all kinds of fish that human like to catch and eat. But our dumb as a post Dept of Interior leader, Ken Salazar is releasing huge quantities of water to make habitat for T&E fish. The watershed for the Colorado River basin is at 40% of normal for snowpack and reservoir storage is on the low side. Salazar could have waited until spring to see what the water flow was going to be before making the release. But no, he had to apease the green lobby. T&E fish would expect high water flow to occur in the spring, not the begining of winter. What a clown.
Hey Andrew –
There’s plenty more fantastic rock formations for you to explore above the high-water-line of Lake Powell.
They’re called Grand Staircase-Escalante, Canyonlands, Needles, Capitol Reef, Glen Canyon, and others.
Clowns like you bitch about grains of sand lost from the beach in a storm.
I don’t think Andrew is really complaining.
You’re right Otter! I put the links in to illustrate some plain facts, that’s all.
I’m fully aware of the other natural wonders that abound in the four corners region.
One fact that stands out for me is that the ‘evil’ Coal burning power plant generates practically twice the number of Kilowatts(on demand) of which the Glen Canyon Powerplant is capable.
The dam will make a nice spillway once the lake silts up, but that’s perhaps quite a few thousands of years away, nobody alive now will have to worry about it.
The other is that the Grand Canyon has been undeniably affected.
Some people are just too quick to toss out insults.
You guys are bringing back great memories. One of my favorite drives was Cottonwood Canyon Road, passing by Grosvenor Arch. And of course there was my trip to Capitol Reef on Scenic Byway 12. Awesome country for an old, or young geologist, and great roads for auto enthusiasts.
Isn’t this based on a book by Gavin Schmidt which prominently displayed a dried up lake bed on the cover?
Half full ?? Hah !
Our main dam got to below 15% with our main man Tim Flannery telling us our dams will never fill again !
Of course he was proven right in 2011 when the capacity approached 200 % and it almost failed in its primary duty – FLOOD CONTROL.
I’m sure you saw the images of Queensland in flood in 2011.
PS 1974 was a bigger flood back in the “safe” levels of CO2 !
When I see a story about Lake Powell, I’ve come to expect some vistas. What happened to the regular Lake Powell Report?
Here, I’ll help out. Just imagine that’s Lake Powell in the background: