Lake Powell Likely To Fall Below 'Critical Levels' Soon

By Ginny Reese

March 4, 2022

Photo: Getty Images

Lake Powell is the second-largest reservoir in the country. And for the first time in 50 years, it is projected to fall below a critical threshold due to the ongoing drought, reported AZ Family.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the water levels are expected to reach a significant elevation of 3,525 feet above sea level between March 10th and March 16th.

The 3,525-foot mark is a significant "target elevation" for the reservoir. Anything under that level becomes a dire situation. As of Thursday, the reservoir had fallen to 3,526 feet.

Justin Mankin, assistant professor of geography at Dartmouth College and co-lead of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Drought Task Force, told CNN, "We’re kind of in some uncharted territory, socially and economically. It’s totally within reason to expect that the next couple of weeks or so for [Lake Powell] to fall below the critical level."

Both Lake Powell and nearby Lake Mead, which is the nation's largest reservoir, have drained alarmingly fast this last year.

Mankin said, "It’s kind of like the central bank of an economy, drawing money from local banks to kind of keep the economy afloat. Lake Powell is the central bank of the Colorado River Basin. Maybe that’s workable for a little while, but just like a household, the longer it’s in debt, the harder it gets. And it’s really the same thing with these reservoirs."

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