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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azbackpackr
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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by azbackpackr » Jul 01 2011 9:00 am

hippiepunkpirate wrote:
azbackpackr wrote:That water has to go somewhere, and needless to say, they don't want to overfill Lake Powell like they did in 1983.
I'm 100% in favor of overfilling to the 1983 level :STP:
Along with the damage to the tunnels and the plywood wall they built on the top, and the actual shaking of the dam they felt? Sure, let's go for it. Just wait til I am off the river, please!

You know, the sandstone on either side is more likely to fail than the dam itself, right? :STP:
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PaleoRob
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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by PaleoRob » Jul 01 2011 11:26 am

The plywood wall is an unfortunate urban legend. There were some plywood splash boards on top of the dam to stop people from being sprayed with water. The actual spillway extensions that raised the level of the lake were steel. There is footage of those gates being installed and in place in the visitor center at the dam. They are very obviously steel.
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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by PaleoRob » Jul 01 2011 11:27 am

Yeah, in a couple million years the river will have a new Horseshoe Bend around the dam after it has carved its new channel through the sandstone.
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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by paulhubbard » Jul 01 2011 11:31 am

The damage that occurred in the spillway tunnels was pretty amazing... We were playing on the lake during that season, hoping we wouldn't be taking an impromptu boating trip through the canyon! I may have some pictures when the spillways and relief tubes were wide open, if I can find them I'll post them here.
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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by big_load » Jul 01 2011 11:58 am

PageRob wrote:Yeah, in a couple million years the river will have a new Horseshoe Bend around the dam after it has carved its new channel through the sandstone.
I bet it won't even take that long. I'm in at 20,000 years. Sooner, if it ever rains.

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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by paulhubbard » Jul 01 2011 12:01 pm

Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement.

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azbackpackr
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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by azbackpackr » Jul 08 2011 6:17 pm

I get the Riverwire update emails about Glen Canyon Dam. This should clear up any questions:

RRFW Riverwire Glen Canyon Dam Update
July 8, 2011

Glen Canyon Dam Lake Powell

The unregulated inflow volume to Lake Powell for June 2011 was 5.40 maf
(175% of average). This was below the forecasted volume for June, which was
6.1 maf (198% of average) but was still the third wettest June on record
since the closure of Glen Canyon Dam. The observed inflow to Lake Powell
peaked on June 11th and 12th at just over 96,000 cfs. Inflows are now
declining but are still averaging about 80,000 cfs (as of July 5, 2011). The
forecasted unregulated inflow volume for July was increased from 3.30 maf to
3.53 maf (226% of average) which would be the 3rd wettest July for Lake
Powell since the operation of Glen Canyon Dam began in 1963.

The reservoir elevation of Lake Powell has increased significantly so far
this runoff season. On April 9, 2011 the elevation of Lake Powell was 3609.7
feet above sea level which was the lowest elevation observed so far in 2011.
Since that time the elevation of Lake Powell has increased by 42.7 feet to
3652.4 feet on July 5, 2011. The elevation is projected to continue to rise
and should peak near 3660 by the end of July. The last time Lake Powell's
reservoir elevation was at this level was in October of 2001 (over 10 years
ago) near the beginning of the recent drought.

Current Dam Operations

Releases from Glen Canyon Dam are approximately 24,400 cfs which is very
near the full capacity of the powerplant. This release rate includes
reserving enough generation capacity for up to 100 MW of reserve generation
and 40 MW of system regulation. As the elevation of Lake Powell increases,
the capacity of the powerplant will change and operation of Glen Canyon Dam
will be adjusted daily to maximize release volumes. It is anticipated that
the release volume for July will be approximately 1,465 kaf. The actual
release volume for July will largely depend on generation unit efficiencies
that occur throughout the month and could be higher or lower than this
estimated release volume.

While the release rate over the next several months is likely to be steady,
the instantaneous releases from Glen Canyon Dam may fluctuate somewhat to
provide 40 MW of system regulation. These instantaneous release adjustments
maintain stable conditions within the electrical generation and transmission
system and result in momentary release fluctuations within a range of about
1100 cfs above or below the targeted hourly release rate. The momentary
fluctuations for regulation are very short lived and typically balance out
over the hour.

Spinning and non-spinning reserve generation is also maintained at Glen
Canyon Dam. In order for Colorado River Storage Project (CRSP) powerplants
to participate in the electrical generation and transmissions system, these
powerplants must maintain a level of generation capacity available in
reserve to assist the local control area for when unanticipated generation
outages occur. The current CRSP powerplant reserve requirement is 100 MW
(equivalent to approximately 2,675 cfs of release from Glen Canyon Dam).
When an electrical outage occurs within the control area, CRSP powerplants
can be called upon to provide up to 100 MW of additional generation for up
to 2 hours. Under normal circumstances, calls for reserves infrequent and
for much less than the required 100 MW. Because Glen Canyon Powerplant is
the largest facility of the CRSP powerplants, most of the CRSP reserve
requirement is maintained at Glen Canyon Dam.

Annual Operations-Coordinated Operation of Lake Mead and Lake Powell under
Interim Guidelines for Water Year 2011

In August of 2010, the 24-Month Study was used to project the January 1,
2010 elevations of Lake Powell and Lake Mead. Based on these projected
elevations and pursuant to the December 2007 Record of Decision on Colorado
River Interim Guidelines for Lower Basin Shortages and the Coordinated
Operations of Lake Powell and Lake Mead (Interim Guidelines), the operating
tier for water year 2011 was selected to be Upper Elevation Balancing.
Operation of Glen Canyon Dam under Upper Elevation Balancing can result in
annual releases as low as 7.0 maf to as high as 13 maf or greater depending
on system conditions. The operational outcome of the Upper Elevation
Balancing Tier is largely dependent on system conditions at the end of the
water year that are projected in the April 24-Month Study.

The April 2011 24-Month Study projected the end of water year elevation for
Lake Powell would be above 3643 feet which is the Equalization Level for
2011. For this reason, pursuant to the Interim Guidelines, Equalization
will govern the operation of Glen Canyon Dam for the remaining months of
water year 2011. For more information on the Interim Guidelines click
http://www.usbr.gov/lc/region/programs/ ... cision.pdf

Current Inflow Forecasts and Model Projections

The Water Supply forecast for Lake Powell (April through July Unregulated
Inflow Volume) is 12.0 maf (151% of average) and the water year unregulated
inflow to Powell for 2011 is projected to be 16.2 maf (135% of average).
The unregulated inflow forecasts for Lake Powell over the next 3 months are
as follows: July-3,530 kaf (226% of average); August-950 kaf (155% of
average): September-670 kaf (141% of average). These forecasts were last
updated on July 1, 2011. Incorporating these new forecasts, the projected
most probable unregulated inflow for water year 2011 is now 16.2 maf (131%
of average). This is the median projection for water year 2011. There is a
50% chance that the actual volume could be higher and there is a 50% the
actual volume could be lower than this projected volume.

The June 24-Month Study projects a Lake Powell WY 2011 annual release volume
of 12.44 maf. Due to recent increases to the inflow forecast for Lake
Powell, Equalization may not be fully achieved by the end of the water year.
The projected Lake Powell releases will be updated each month to reflect
changing hydrology in order to achieve the operation specified by the
Equalization Tier.

The July 2011 24-Month Study will published on July 8, 2011 and will be
available here: http://www.usbr.gov/uc/water/crsp/studi ... nth_07.pdf

Updated elevation projections for Lake Powell through water year 2011 and
2012 based on the most recently published 24-Month Study are maintained at:

http://www.usbr.gov/uc/water/crsp/studies/lppwse.html

Upper Colorado River Basin Hydrology

The Upper Colorado River Basin has experienced a protracted multi-year
drought since early 2000. During this drought, the inflows to Lake Powell
have been below average in every year except water years 2005, 2008 and
likely 2011. In the summer of 1999, Lake Powell was close to full with
reservoir storage at 23.5 million acre-feet, or 97 percent of capacity.
During the next 5 years (2000 through 2004) unregulated inflow to Lake
Powell was well below average. This resulted in Lake Powell storage
decreasing during this period to 8.0 million acre-feet (33 percent of
capacity) which occurred on April 8, 2005.

During 2005, 2008 and 2009, drought conditions eased somewhat with near or
above average inflow conditions and net gains in storage to Lake Powell.
This year (2011) will likely be another above average inflow year. As of
July 5, 2011 the storage in Lake Powell was approximately 17.52 million
acre-feet (72.0 % of capacity) which is still below the desired operating
level for this time of year. The overall reservoir storage in the Colorado
River Basin as of July 5, 2011 is approximately 37.48 million acre-feet
(63.0 % of capacity).

RRFW thanks Rick Clayton of the USBOR for this information.
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PaleoRob
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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by PaleoRob » Jul 08 2011 9:50 pm

Rick Clayton knows his stuff to the bone. His word is pretty much gospel to us at the dam.
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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by PaleoRob » Jul 12 2011 7:26 pm

Lake Level is 3655 today. There is at least a foot of water under Rainbow Bridge now.
"The only thing we did was wrong was staying in the wilderness to long...the only thing we did was right was the day we started to fight..."
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azbackpackr
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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by azbackpackr » Jul 12 2011 7:45 pm

Sheez...
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by desertgirl » Jul 14 2011 3:53 pm

Time to see Rainbow Bridge ....

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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by writelots » Jul 15 2011 11:57 pm

I guess I missed my chance to see all those sunken canyons that were revealed by the drought. I'd be bummed, but it's hard to be a desert rat and ever be bummed by a water surplus...
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Jim_H
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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by Jim_H » Aug 10 2012 6:27 pm

Well, Lake Powell is back below the 2011 levels, so you can get back out and see the exposed features that were drowned last June. I expect, the lake will continue to drop this coming summer, unless a La Nina Redevelops.
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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by PaleoRob » Aug 11 2012 7:07 am

Unless things changed randomly after I left the lake only gained about 1 foot from its low point. BoR projects this to be one of the top three driest water years on record for the Upper Colorado Basin.
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Jim_H
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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by Jim_H » Aug 11 2012 7:26 am

As with the usually cyclical pattern of wet and dry years, I wonder if I'll ever see a period like the really wet early 1980s, and if so, can we expect to see the dam full, and almost over full with all the spillways open and the water pouring out as it did in 83?
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Re: Lake Powell Water Level

Post by PaleoRob » Aug 13 2012 7:06 pm

The 2011 water year was actually pretty close to the 1983 inflow. Without the drawdown on the lake from the previous decade of drought the lake would have easily been at capacity and possibly even used the spillways.
"The only thing we did was wrong was staying in the wilderness to long...the only thing we did was right was the day we started to fight..."
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