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Fed to hold back water in Lake Powell to protect hydroelectric power

Federal water officials have announced that they will keep hundreds of billions of gallons of Colorado River water inside Lake Powell instead of letting it flow downstream to southwestern states and Mexico.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Water and Science Tanya Trujillo said Tuesday that the move would allow the Glen Canyon Dam to continue producing hydropower while officials strategize how to operate the dam with a lower water elevation.

The decision will not have any immediate impacts on the amount of water allocated for the region’s cities and its farm but reflects the compounding challenges facing the region, where roughly 40 million people and a $5 billion-a-year agricultural industry rely on the Colorado River.