Lake Powell power plant could stop running by July, experts say

The worst-case prediction from the Bureau of Reclamation reveals that Lake Powell could drop beneath the minimal power pool as quickly as July 2023.

PAGE, Ariz. — New predictions by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation present that Lake Powell’s water ranges might fall beneath the extent wanted to provide power as quickly as July 2023. 

The Bureau of Reclamation points two-year predictions for the water ranges in Lake Powell and Lake Mead and revises these predictions each few months. It makes use of a number of projections to give you anticipated, worst, and greatest possible outcomes. 

One of these projections reveals that water ranges at Lake Powell could fall beneath what’s known as minimal power pool, the bottom stage that might nonetheless permit the power plant within the dam to provide power in solely seven months. 

Taking the common of these predictions, the Bureau reveals it is extra possible that, in a worst-case year, the lake falls to that stage by December of 2023 and stays there till May of 2024. That would imply the power plant wouldn’t be practical for 5 months. 

The projections for Lake Mead present the water stage staying above the minimal power pool for the following two years however reveals the water ranges nonetheless falling dramatically. 

“They could get there in the coming year, certainly in the next two years,” said Sarah Porter with ASU’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy and a water expert. “So it’s imperative that we take action to leave water in the system.”

While Lake Mead’s water ranges ought to stay safely above the minimal power pool stage, Lake Powell’s dropping ranges add an additional layer of concern for each reservoirs. 

Lake Powell’s water is far colder on the backside than on the high. Releasing chilly water into Glen Canyon could shock the ecosystem of the Grand Canyon downstream, experts consider. 

There’s a stage beneath the minimal power pool known as “deadpool,” which is the bottom stage that water can go by means of the dam. If the water drops beneath deadpool, there are issues the water may stop fully. Glen Canyon Dam has outlet tunnels beneath that stage, however they’re untested for that goal. 

And if the water cannot move downstream, there is no water to replenish Lake Mead. 

Porter says there should be much more cuts to the quantity of water the Western states take from the Colorado River. 

“Cities will probably have to turn to other supplies that they have to replace Colorado River water,” she mentioned. 

Luckily, Porter mentioned Arizona cities have been constructing a portfolio of water from a number of sources and may be capable to climate the drought for some time. 

Arizona agriculture, nonetheless, has already taken the most important cuts to Colorado River water, and people cuts usually are not more likely to be rolled again. 

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