Water Levels at Lake Powell

May 6, 2014

EcoFlight recently flew over and documented sections of Lake Powell and the Escalante River where it merges with Lake Powell, to document the water level of the reservoir during this prolonged period of drought. From the air the giant bathtub rings show just how far below full the reservoir is. Once submerged canyons are also visible from the air, and areas like Coyote Canyon and Cathedral Canyon are starting to be reclaimed after reemerging from the water years ago.


Growing demand for water, relentless drought, and climate change are creating a water deficit of almost 1 million acre-feet a year in the Colorado River system. Both Lake Powell and Lake Mead reservoirs are half empty, and scientists predict that they will probably never fill again. The water supply of more than 22 million people in the three Lower Basin states is in jeopardy. As part of a solution, groups like the Glen Canyon Institute have come up with the Fill Mead First proposal. This plan would save up to 500,000 acre feet per year by using Lake Mead as primary water storage while saving water from evaporation and bank seepage in Powell. A lowered Lake Powell would also expose many more portions of Glen Canyon that have been flooded under the reservoir, allowing them to recover their natural beauty and integrity.