Tuesday September 6, 2022

The Gazette

Flaming Gorge Reservoir, which Bureau of Reclamation officials have used twice during the past two years to add water to the rapidly deteriorating Colorado River system, likely has only enough water left for two more emergency releases, according reclamation officials.

Last summer, the Bureau of Reclamation ordered the release of 125,000 acre-feet of water from Flaming Gorge, located in the northeast corner of Utah and the southwest corner of Wyoming, to help keep Lake Powell from falling too low to produce power. Then, earlier this summer, Reclamation announced that it would release another 500,000 acre-feet of water from Flaming Gorge and hold back 480,000 acre-feet in Powell instead of releasing it downstream to Lake Mead, as it would normally do.

Another 30,000 acre-feet was released from Colorado’s Blue Mesa Reservoir last summer, which along with Flaming Gorge, New Mexico’s Navajo, and Powell itself, was supposed to act as a critical savings account for the river system.

The Colorado River Basin, which is divided into two regions, includes seven states: Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming make up the Upper Basin, while Arizona, California and Nevada comprise the Lower Basin. Lake Powell serves as the largest water bank for the Upper Basin, while Lake Mead holds water for the Lower Basin states.

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