Lake Powell’s declining water levels affecting residents on the Western Slope

Local News

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo — The Colorado River is flowing below normal.

It has officials worried.

Andy Mueller, with Colorado River District, says, “bottom line, for every one degree the Fahrenheit rises in temperature, we are seeing streamflow in the Colorado River System be reduced somewhere between three to eight percent.”

Lake Powell is fed by the Colorado River and supplies water to thousands in the Western United States. It is only 32 percent full.

Anne Castle, with Colorado Boulder, says, “we’ve seen Lake Powell drop 50 feet over the past year, that represents four million acre-feet of stored water that we don’t have anymore.”

The water shortages in Lake Powell put a greater strain on local residents here on the Western Slope.

Mueller added, “in a year like this where we’ve had really poor hydrology, poor snowpack in the Upper Basin, extremely hot temperatures, and really dry soil conditions.”

The issue at hand could even affect your electric bill.

Mueller also says, “many of our residents are not only being charged and hit by a drought and suffering the pain that comes with that we’re also going to see much higher electric bills.”

Castle added, “overall I think we have to think about reducing demand, overall in the system.”

Another solution to the problem could come from lawmakers in Washington D.C.

Mueller is “excited about the infrastructure bill going through Congress right now, there’s a lot of money in that for western water and I think it’s a really exciting opportunity to help on that water conservation side.”

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