Bypassing Glen Canyon Dam, Once Considered a Radical Idea, is Becoming Mainstream

The Bureau of Reclamation is analyzing future operations of Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell.

The Colorado River reservoir is facing record low water levels that threaten the current system, and conservationists are proposing a work-around: a tunnel to bypass the dam.

Charts Show Lake Mead, Powell Water Levels Change Amid Low Storage Warning

Two charts show an improving trend in Lake Mead and Lake Powell water levels after the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) issued a low storage warning for the former on Tuesday.

Lakes Powell, Mead Levels Rise as Government Plans Future Water Rules

A year after Lake Mead dropped to a historic low, the U.S. government’s Department of Interior and Bureau of Reclamation have announced the beginning of the process to develop a new plan to deal with the changing water levels in reservoirs along the Colorado River. To do this it is setting up three public input meetings online where people can voice ideas and concerns.

Ahead of New Colorado River Talks, Governments and Tribes Weigh in On the Future

Hot on the heels of a short-term agreement to cut back on Colorado River water use, states are looking ahead to talks about more permanent cuts. The Bureau of Reclamation, the federal agency which manages the West’s water, announced that those negotiations will formally begin next week with a notice in the Federal Register.

The announcement came at an environmental law conference in Boulder, Colorado on Thursday, where scientists, state and federal governments, and tribes met at the University of Colorado’s law school.

Colorado River Basin Reservoirs Still Face Grim Outlook Despite Healthy Snowpack

The healthy snowpack whitening Colorado’s mountain peaks has given water officials some breathing room to manage the Colorado River Basin’s ongoing drought. The challenge will be not to squander it.

As winter storms wind down, water managers and policymakers are mulling over decisions about how to release and retain water in shrunken reservoirs across the basin, which supports 40 million people across the West.

Reclamation Increases Central Valley Project 2023 Water Supply Allocations

The Bureau of Reclamation March 28, announced an increase in Central Valley Project 2023 water supply allocations. After below average precipitation in February, Reclamation announced a conservative initial water supply allocation for the CVP on Feb. 22. Additional atmospheric river systems have since boosted hydrological conditions and storage volumes, allowing for a more robust water supply allocation.

Since making initial allocations last month, Shasta Reservoir, the cornerstone of the Central Valley Project, has increased from 59% to 81%, and San Luis Reservoir, the largest reservoir south-of-Delta, from 64% to 97%. Record-breaking snowpack conditions currently exist in the Southern Sierra coupled with significant snowpack in the Central Sierra and Northern Sierra/Trinity.

At Its Lowest Point in History, Lake Powell Sees First Growth in Months

Nearly 50 years after being filled, Lake Powell recently reached its lowest point.

Since then, the lake’s seasonal uptrend in water levels has begun.

Lake Powell hit a new low of 3520.46 feet on March 13, data from the Bureau of Reclamation shows.

However, the following eight days all saw more water flow into the lake than out of it, resulting in just under half a foot of rise in water levels. The increase is the first sustained gains the lake has seen since May of last year.

Has Rain Helped Lake Mead Water Levels?

A particularly wet season has swept across the southwestern U.S., a region that has suffered under a severe megadrought for over two decades. But what has this meant for Colorado River reservoir Lake Mead?

Storms of rain and snow have hit California particularly badly in recent months, and have spread into neighboring states like Nevada. Reservoirs like Lake Mead rely on seasonal snowmelt and rainfall.

The Search for Solutions to Colorado’s Water Crisis

In January, the same series of storms that left Denver’s streets covered in deep drifts also pushed Colorado’s snowpack north of 120 percent of its average for that point in the year. If your gauge was the number of ski runs open, it was great news. If your gauge was the state’s water supply, it was likely barely enough to maintain the status quo.

California Reservoir Water Levels Before and After Winter Storm

After another week of severe winter weather, levels in California’s recovering water reservoirs have continued to rise, signaling good news for the state’s summer water supplies.

This follows weeks of considerable rain and snowfall in California since the start of 2023.