Lake Powell reached its official high water mark for the 2009 water year on July 14 and July 16 with a reading of 3642.30 feet above sea level. This puts the lake roughly 58 feet below the 3700 feet above sea level mark, which is considered full for Lake Powell.
From this point, until next April when spring run off begins again, Lake Powell will drop.
Lake Powell is a large water storage tank for the Colorado River Storage Project and acts much like a savings account of water while Lake Mead acts as the checking account.
Lake Powell is required to release 8.23 million acre feet of water each year past Lee’s Ferry which goes to the lower basin states of Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, California and the country of Mexico. In water year 2009 so far Lake Powell has released 6.44 MAF or about 78% of the federal requirement.
Currently, in the water year which began in October, Lake Powell has received 8.732 million acre feet of water.
One piece of good news is that reservoirs above Lake Powell are at 92% full. While most of the water comes from the Colorado River there are significant tributaries which have reservoirs on them.