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Federal government to hold back water in Lake Powell

Lake Powell Bathtub Ring
Rick Bowmer
Levels at Lake Powell hit historic low levels during the summer of 2021 exposing more of the bathtub ring on the canyon walls.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says it’ll start holding back water in Lake Powell this month to combat prolonged drought that’s caused some of the lowest levels ever seen in the reservoir.

Officials say 523,000 acre-feet will be kept in the lake through April and then added to later releases between June and September of next year following spring runoff.

Under the plan, the 7 million total acre-feet of water set to be released throughout the entire year won’t change, only the monthly volumes.

The bureau says the adjustments are expected to raise Lake Powell’s elevation by 10 feet.

Water officials say later this month the lake is likely to drop to within 35 feet of the lowest level at which Glen Canyon Dam can still produce power.

Later this month, officials will issue their annual 24-month study of the lake including updated water level projections.