Tis spring again and so one of my favorite discussions (guessing games) begins. How high will Lake Powell go this year? With dredging of the Castle Rock Cut well underway (they want to be done before the lake starts gaining) the Cut should be operational earlier this year than last. Remember that last year was the first year in five that the 12 mile short cut had been usable after a prolonged drought.
The Bureau of Reclamation has released it’s final guess on a elevation for Lake Powell at the peak water level in July of 3642 feet above sea level. This puts the lake 58 feet below full pool which is 3700′ above sea level.
Current snow pack in the upper basin states of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming is sitting at 104% of normal.
The Colorado Compact, in place since 1922, requires that past Lee’s Ferry (15 miles down stream from Glen Canyon Dam) the upper states need to release to the lower states 8.23 million acre feet of water. An acre foot is roughly enough water for a family of four or five for a year, an acre of land with one foot of water on it, or 325,851 gallons.
A couple of years ago due to the drought and the low condition of Lake Mead a temporary order was put in place to try and level out the two lakes.
This year, depending on the unregulated inflow to Lake Powell, we may have to release 9.39 MAF instead of the 8.23 MAF due to the Equalization Act. Time and the weather will tell if we continue to build snow pack or start losing it early.
Stay tuned for our next update……………….