Drought’s Not Over, But We’re Moving In The Right Direction
We have been through an unprecedented period of drought here in the west. And even though we were given record breaking snowfall for this last winter, the conventional wisdom seems to be that we need to continue to push the fact that there is a long way to go before we can put the “crisis” behind us. I'm not going to dispute that, although, as an aside, the one thing that government and the media loves is a crisis as that validates their existence. But yes, there is still much recovery ahead of us.
Be that as it may, can we once in a while stop the drumbeat of depression and occasionally point out something positive? In looking over some material from the Glen Canyon Recreational Area and the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center (CBRFC), I have found some information that I believe is worth passing along.
The May 1st Water Supply Forecast Discussion from the CBRFC said that the April-July unregulated inflow forecast for Lake Powell would be 11 Million Acre Feet (MAF) or some 172% of normal. Predictions on how much Lake Powell will rise range from 50 to 90 feet, with the Bureau of Reclamation forecast a lake elevation of 3576.50 feet at the end of this water year. That's forty two and a half feet higher than the level of the lake today which is 3533.92. And remember that the highest level of the lake will likely peak sometime in late June to early July.
In a news release from the Glen Canyon Recreation Area, they state they are
pleased to announce that due to a high snowpack, a higher spring runoff is expected to affect Lake Powell water levels for the 2023 boating season. Lake Powell has a greater than 90% chance for above average water levels this year.
And just a couple of days ago they were able to reopen the Bullfrog North Boat Ramp to houseboats and all larger vessels. That ramp had been closed in December. Closer to our area, vessels can launch at the Wahweap Stateline Auxillary Launch Ramp, and the main ramp will open when the lake reaches a level of 3,564 feet.
If the lake does in fact rise by fifty feet this year, that will bring it back a quarter of the way to being at full capacity. There's still a long way to go, but a 25% comeback in one year is a good start. If you want to track the level at Lake Powell go to this website.
We should always use our water resources with care and conservation. The day may come when we will be out of drought all together, but even then, wasting water is just not the thing to do.
But let's also look at the good things that come our way. We have been asking and praying that we would get moisture and snow, and this year we have certainly gotten an answer. I hope we continue to see an improving water picture for our region. And I hope we will also stop and express gratitude for what has been given to us.
Moreover, I hope we will sometimes put down the panic publications, take a pause, and maybe even go jump in the lake.