Lake Powell Water Level

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Jim_H
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Lake Powell Water Level

Post by Jim_H » Jun 24 2011 12:04 pm

It HAS been a very wet year for the Upper Colorado River watershed. Lake Powell is rising, and while the surface area will expand and rise rates will decrease, it is still coming up. According to the lake website, Lake Powell hasn't been this full since June of 2002!
http://lakepowell.water-data.com/

I wonder how how it will get? Will it approach a full pool in 2011? This winter has probably been close to 1984 when the dam was nearly over topped from the massive wet winter and late spring precipitation. We're well below the 1984 lake level, though. Most upper reservoirs are also looking good. Now, Lake Mead is still really low, so things aren't perfect, but it is impressive to see lake Powell get this high.

Anyone in Page have recent photos of the lake behind the dam? Within the last day or two.
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fotogirl53
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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by fotogirl53 » Jun 24 2011 1:06 pm

I spent 4 days on Lake Powell last week. From my camp/houseboat spot in Padre Bay, the water came up 11-12 inches per day! Park personnel expect the water to rise into August. They are expecting a full pool. How great is that! Mr. Photogirl is heading north to Idaho tomorrow--I'll ask him to stop and take a photo of the backside of the dam and email it to me.
Last edited by fotogirl53 on Jun 24 2011 1:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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chumley
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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by chumley » Jun 24 2011 1:09 pm

Isn't there some kind of legal arrangement where Powell has to release water to Mead?
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Jim_H
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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by Jim_H » Jun 24 2011 1:16 pm

Full Pool! Thats impressive. I read it hasn't happened since 1999!


They do have to release a certain amount of acre feet every water year, but they have actually already done that. They'll release more with electricity generation, and if they have a special arrangement to do a flood or something else, they can release even more. I suspect a flood or large release is not to be expected based on boat season having started. The last planned flood was in March of 2008.
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azbackpackr
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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by azbackpackr » Jun 24 2011 4:46 pm

No flood is planned. They are releasing close to 25,000 cfs right now, and plan to continue that, maybe more.

Can't believe any hiker or nature lover is happy about Lake Foul being full again. I couldn't believe my eyes while reading this. Do you read no history or outdoor literature? Do you know nothing about Glen Canyon?

During the time the lake was very low, backpackers were starting to see areas buried for years under water, cottonwoods were coming back, and from all accounts it was pretty awesome to explore some of the lost parts of Glen Canyon.

Down with the Dam! Long live Glen Canyon! :gun:
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RedRoxx44
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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by RedRoxx44 » Jun 24 2011 5:02 pm

If you are in favor of decommissioning Lake Powell by any means possible; the e- book "Wet Desert" by Gary Hansen is a must read in my opinion. It's no Monkey Wrench gang but it's a darn good scenario of how that could happen. Best of all it was only .99 on Amazon. Think I'll read it again soon. Having spent some time with Katie Lee I can appreciate a tiny bit that eden lost.

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Jim_H
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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by Jim_H » Jun 24 2011 6:00 pm

I know this will not make friends here: As someone who thinks Ed Abby was a kook, and appreciates the impact we all have living in the desert, and realizes that large reservoirs are a fact of life and a sacrifice we have to make to live here and have a stable water supply, I find the anti-glen canyon dam crowd to be in the same camp as those who believe hands off forest management is the only acceptable kind of forest policy.

I read History, and I know that the west has only been settle-able as a result of the large FEDERALLY funded (for you anti-federal types) water works projects. I know a little about the Dam, and the canyon, and I know that a lot of desert canyon was drowned. I do not read the Ed Abbey literature, or want to.

The annual fluctuations in snowfall will give us low water years in the future, and since Lake Mead is low, and Lake Powell stops a lot of the sediment, perhaps a more effective idea would be to lower Lake Powell by shipping water to Lake Mead. Lake Mead is still at 44%, so that might not be a bad idea.

I do not support the destruction of the dams on the river. It would be nice if the river was free flowing, and the delta was alive, the river deposited it's sediment as it did for millions of years, the canyon was carved ever deeper, the water warm and turbid in summer and the world of 1880 could live on, but that is not reality. Just as reality is not 5 million acres of old-growth, frequently burned ponderosa pine, it is one with something like 10 million people who rely on the river for water, so dams are a part of the sacrifice we make to live in the SW and not New Jersey, Tennessee, Ohio, Florida or some other horrible place most Americans suffer living though, if you call that living.

Hatred if these dams is a classic manifestation of NIMBY. You want to live here, you want cheap abundant water that was subsidized by the government, but you don't want to have the dam or reservoirs. Even if the GCD was decommissioned, the others would still be there. We can't live without them.
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fotogirl53
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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by fotogirl53 » Jun 24 2011 6:08 pm

I understand the devastation of Glen Canyon and the politics involved with it, but the need for water in the west as population continues to increase and the drought cycle continues will, in our lifetimes, necessitate the continued existence of Glen Canyon Dam. As a longtime Flagstaff resident who no longer can have grass in my yard and am threatened by the city with further water rationing, I enjoy playing in Lake Powell once in a while.
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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by PaleoRob » Jun 24 2011 6:29 pm

RedRoxx44 wrote:If you are in favor of decommissioning Lake Powell by any means possible; the e- book "Wet Desert" by Gary Hansen is a must read in my opinion. It's no Monkey Wrench gang but it's a darn good scenario of how that could happen. Best of all it was only .99 on Amazon. Think I'll read it again soon. Having spent some time with Katie Lee I can appreciate a tiny bit that eden lost.
This book is so full of errors and facts, I cannot stand it. It is written by someone who really has no idea what they are talking about and has read a few BoR reports and throws figures around. He can't even keep the size of GCD consistent! He names at least three different heights for the dam (and two for the associated bridge), none of which are accurate. I do not recommend this book at all.
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RedRoxx44
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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by RedRoxx44 » Jun 24 2011 6:44 pm

I found the book entertaining and enjoyed it quite alot. I wasn't too worried about the facts. But each to his opinion, and you know much more about the dam than I.

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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by PaleoRob » Jun 24 2011 7:55 pm

chumley wrote:Isn't there some kind of legal arrangement where Powell has to release water to Mead?
Yes, it is called equalization and I think it sucks. Currently the lake is 55.99 feet below full pool and rising 8-12 inches a day. Peak inflows of somewhere around 103-105k cfs aren't expected until July. Many areas that drain into the lake are still at over 200% of their normal snowpack for this time of year. The BoR water gurus are predicting levels to keep rising until late July/early August. We would likely reach full pool this year except that we have equalization going on. There is a target lake elevation for Lake Mead that we're supposed to meet. This seems foolish to me, as A) we're supposed to store water up here so that Mead can use it in drought years B)it runs somewhat contrary to the Colorado River Compact in that the surplus is not being shared equitably. But whatever - Powell/Glen Canyon Dam have always been the irritating stepchild in water management in the west. Everyone loves Hoover, even though it is much more sedimented, looses more water to evaporation, and drowned some of the best rapids in the canyon, according to some old time river rats (Separation? Lava Cliff?). Glen Canyon is the scapegoat - we divert no water (except a little to NGS and Page) and have other advantages over Mead/Hoover, but we get blamed for everything by everyone.
I think the CRC needs to be revisited and rewritten instead of making stupid band-aid "fixes" like equalization. Base it on reasonable flow rates and include the tribes and Mexico from the get-go, and you'd have a much more sustainable and less contentious management scheme in place. Not everyone would be 100% happy, but it sure as heck would be better than what we have now.
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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by azbackpackr » Jun 25 2011 9:10 am

Ha! I knew I could raise a firestorm of discussion! ;)
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johnlp
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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by johnlp » Jun 25 2011 11:47 am

It's good to see the levels of both Powell and Mead going up. Mead is supposed to rise 10 ft in June/July. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go water my lawn. :D
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Jim_H
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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by Jim_H » Jun 25 2011 12:01 pm

Don't forget the cotton, lettuce, hay, pecans, citrus, and to fill the pool and the lakes in those neighborhoods.
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chumley
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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by chumley » Jun 25 2011 2:32 pm

and GOLF! :y:
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PaleoRob
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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by PaleoRob » Jun 25 2011 6:12 pm

Your watering (or not) doesn't matter much in the long run. Something like only 10% of our water is used for municipal supplies. The vast majority of water (especially from the Colorado) goes to agriculture.
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SuperstitionGuy
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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by SuperstitionGuy » Jun 25 2011 6:48 pm

If 90 percent is going to agriculture it is still going to me (us) as I really like having three meals a day!
Lets build more lake Powells and lake Meads and let the tree huggers eat sand! ;)
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johnlp
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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by johnlp » Jun 25 2011 7:25 pm

The Pacific Institute reports 70% of the Colorado goes to Ag, 15% to municipal use, and most of the rest to energy & mining. I would have guessed a higher amount for municipal. The valley cities get most of their water from the Salt and Verde river systems. Chandler only gets about 10% of its water from the Colorado (CAP). But many areas have no access to surface water, and just use wells to pump groundwater. Can't go on forever like that, especially with population growth, without replenishing the aquifer.
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Jim_H
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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by Jim_H » Jun 25 2011 8:20 pm

Tucson, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Inland Empire Cities, they all get their water from the Colorado. Ag uses way more, though.
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azbackpackr
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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by azbackpackr » Jun 26 2011 6:22 am

johnlp wrote:The Pacific Institute reports 70% of the Colorado goes to Ag, 15% to municipal use, and most of the rest to energy & mining. I would have guessed a higher amount for municipal. The valley cities get most of their water from the Salt and Verde river systems. Chandler only gets about 10% of its water from the Colorado (CAP). But many areas have no access to surface water, and just use wells to pump groundwater. Can't go on forever like that, especially with population growth, without replenishing the aquifer.
How about the large percentage of it lost to evaporation in the lakes? Just sayin...

San Diego also drinks Colorado River water. City of 2 million or so.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
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