SALT LAKE CITY — The growing crisis on the Colorado River came into sharper focus last week when the Bureau of Reclamation began emergency releases from Flaming Gorge Reservoir to shore up Lake Powell’s declining levels, now at historic lows.
The move will bolster Powell’s level by 3 feet in hopes of preventing it from dropping to a point where Glen Canyon Dam would not be able to generate electrical power, according to the agency’s Upper Colorado regional director Wayne Pullan.
These releases from Flaming Gorge and two other reservoirs were triggered by interstate agreements crafted in response to historic drought conditions that are stressing water supplies across the West.
“Unlike an earthquake or a fire or a hurricane, it’s not an imminent emergency, but it’s been an emerging situation over many years,” Pullan said Friday in a news media call. “Because of the way this has emerged over the years, we’ve been able to have this agreement in place and to be ready to act. There’s been no declaration of emergency. We consider this a response to an emerging, very difficult situation.”
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Written by BRIAN MAFFLY, The Salt Lake Tribune.
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