What a drought has uncovered about Lake Powell

Published 2022-05-12
Environmentalists have long cursed the day Glen Canyon was dammed and the Lake Powell reservoir was formed by flooding the landscape behind it. Thanks to alarmingly low water levels and a two-decade-long drought, that landscape now seems to be returning to its natural state not seen for more than half a century. Ben Tracy reports.

#News #ClimateChange #LakePowell

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All Comments (21)
  • Ray Stanczak
    It’s not “crazy” how far the water has dropped—it was predicted. What’s crazy is how we’ve allowed it to happen.
  • David Blinn
    Populations in southwest cities like Vegas & Phoenix have increased by 250-400% since 1990. The drought severity index in the southwest has hovered between +3 and -4 over the past 30 years. The last 3 years being the worst of this period, but the water in lake Powell has been steadily decreasing. This is the result of the Phoenix metro area having over 200 golf courses, and hundreds of people moving there every day. The drought isn't helping, but water usage is the real issue in the southwest.
  • SpacelordAce
    The two perspectives in this video describe my internal conflict over this change. I spent a great deal of my time growing up at lake powell with our family on the boat. It is my favorite place in the world and to think I may never be able to bring my own kids is heart breaking. On the other side, I share the same sentiments with the second interviewee. While my heart is filled with so much grief I cant help but to be in awe of the beauty of glen canyon being resurrected.
  • MomentOfZen
    "Water, water, water....There is no shortage of water in the desert but exactly the right amount , a perfect ratio of water to rock, water to sand, insuring that wide free open, generous spacing among plants and animals, homes and towns and cities, which makes the arid West so different from any other part of the nation. There is no lack of water here, unless you try to establish a city where no city should be." -Edward Abbey
  • Harry Hunt
    Edward Abbey was 60 years ahead of his time. He fought tooth and nail against the building of the dam, predicting that it would be only a quarter full by now. I’d say he was just about spot on.
  • ronkirk50
    Three years ago I did a two week boat camping trip on Lake Powell in a 13 foot rowing/sailing dingy. As I slowly made my way up the lake, I had a great time primitive camping and day hiking along the banks. I also met a guy in a big inflatable kayak with his mountain bike strapped on the deck who was doing a bike/paddle down part of the Colorado river. The slick rock country is one of our national treasures.
  • Rich D
    Lake Powell only exists to distribute water for the Colorado River Compact, which vastly over allocated the river water at the time in the 1960s. Now there’s about half as much coming down the Colorado. It seems almost impossible that Lake Mead could ever fill up again, even if Powell were drained. The Compact needs to be re-written to acknowledge our new reality.
  • HighwayLand
    it's not just climate change, it's also the growing population along with the endless amount of housing and all the new communities that go with it. Arizona had a population of 1.3 million in 1960, now it's at 7.4 million. Everybody needs water and everybody needs electricity, and no doubt something bad is going to come out of all of this.
  • Captain Kirk
    My wife and I were at Lake Powel and Glen Canyon dam in 2015.
    I remember seeing where the was, and where it used to be, and differences between then and now is astonishing. The water level was very in 2015, and now....wow!
  • Walter Bright
    I boated on the waters of Lake Powell since 1982. Circumnavigating it first in a Coleman Scanoe with 5 hp outboard. Then in rented houseboats. Finally moving my boat to Big Water UT in the early 90s and camped all over the lake till 2002 when I repatriated my boat back to NJ as the lake began to really start to shrink. During that time I started reading about Glenn Canyon before the damn and realized that while I enjoyed the beautiful lake as I had found it, just how much natural beauty was sacrificed to creat it and started to wish I had known it before the dam. Well the next few years I may get closer to realizing my dream than I ever thought possible and intend to explore this wild area hopefully with the solitude that existed back before the dam existed.
  • TheMonkdad
    I feel bad for the people who live in areas who need the water and electricity but the exposed caves and rocks makes me want to visit.
  • Honda Guy
    How can this be a surprise to anyone ? Seriously... Did people really move out to the desert and think they would have an endless supply of water forever ?
  • Rod Gantt
    This desert southwest was never capable or mean to hold millions of people with manicured lawns and swimming pools. Mother Nature is telling us loud and clear that it is past time to get our environmental house in order. Cities like Phoenix, Tucson, Las Vegas and Los Angeles are rapidly approaching a day of reckoning, they could be huge ghost towns in 20-30 years, maybe less. Of course this is an issue for the entire world, not just the American Southwest. For those of us who’ve been sounding this alarm for over 40 years, we take no pleasure in screaming “I told you so”!!!
  • Arrowslingr
    Went there 4 years ago and it was a lot lower than I expected compared to when I went there 25 years ago but the biggest disappointment was the upstream canyons were full of pollution. Some of the hideaway canyons actually stunk bad and there was lots of trash everywhere....sad.
  • Insulator U
    I went to Lake Powell around 2006, to this day I still say it is one of my favorite places ever, this initially made me sad past few yrs hearing of the trouble it’s in but now watching this shows a different perspective I had never thot about. Thx
  • Jessica Anderson
    I live out here by Lake Powell, Its incredible how fast the level went down. I live about 20 minutes north but am not affected because our small town uses well water. Its an almost daily conversation in town tho. Feels like only recently with Sen Kelly are things like solar power being discussed
  • R Jay
    Sad😢 I have such special memories of Powell. I knew a lady who hiked those canyon's in the 50's. She was a photographer and poet and had some beautiful framed pictures. I remember asking her about them and when she told me it was Cathedral Canyon under Lake Powell I was amazed.
  • Andrew Medanich
    But the desert southwest still insists on having green lawns, huge palms that require a ton of water, the bottling plants, farms, and golf courses that also use water that should be used for consumption and power not for frivolous or downright stupid uses in a freaking desert.
  • Jana CH
    When I was a T.A. For freshman Geography in the 1980s, I would show my students a film about the Colorado River, which even then did not reach the sea. The main points I remember about the Glen Canyon Dan concerned the flooding of the natural beauties of the canyon, and the dam’s ineffectiveness at fulfilling the purpose for which it was built. The Glen Canyon Dam was a mistake in the first place.