Feds: #ColoradoRiver’s Flaming Gorge Reservoir able only to deliver two more emergency #water releases – @WaterEdCO #GreenRiver #COriver #aridification
Right now, Powell stands at 3,533 feet, just 8 feet above the top of a buffer pool that must be maintained to keep the reservoir’s power turbines operating. Lake Mead is similarly low, with an elevation of 1,043.42.
Reclamation expects the reservoirs’ levels to continue dropping next year as well. “This could be where our hydrologies are going to stay,” Prairie said.
But it isn’t only the one-year outlook that is so troubling, Prairie said. It is the wildly varying temperature scenarios, low soil moisture levels, and shrinking snowpacks that are making it difficult to determine the best methods for keeping the giant river system, and Powell and Mead, from crashing.
Ironically, 2022 is shaping up to be slightly wetter than 2021, when inflow was just 3.5 million acre-feet, well below the 6.2 million acre-feet expected for this year.
Urging water users to move quickly to find ways to deliver and keep more water in the system, Prairie said, “Even if we have a good year next year, it is not going to save us.”
Jerd Smith is editor of Fresh Water News. You can be reached at 720-398-6474, via email at [email protected] or @jerd_smith.