Historic Dip in Lake Powell Water Levels Could Affect Your Power Costs If You Live in These 7 States

Lake Powell Dam stock photo
CLAUDE ROUGERIE / iStock.com

Lake Powell, a major source of electricity in the western states, is dipping dangerously close to a level where it cannot continue to provider hydroelectric power. The lake currently sits at 3,525 feet dip. It is the lake’s lowest level since the government built the Glen Canyon Dam in the Colorado River in Arizona in 1966.

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Meanwhile, Glen Canyon Dam, which separates Lake Powell and its downstream counterpart, Lake Mead, sits just 35 feet above “minimum power pool,” or the minimum water level at which turbines can produce hydroelectric power. If Lake Powell dips much lower, it will stop flowing through the dam and hydroelectric turbines would stop.

While people in the region have typically focused environmental concerns on water shortages, the speed at which Lake Powell’s and Lake Mead’s water levels are dropping has taken experts by surprise. “We clearly weren’t sufficiently prepared for the need to move this quickly,” John Fleck, director of the University of New Mexico’s Water Resources Program, told MSN.

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Experts also believe that water run-off from the Rocky Mountains once the snow starts melting should compensate for the deficit — but that’s only a temporary solution. Glen Canyon Dam’s hydroelectric systems provide power for roughly five million customers in Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

Without access to this clean, affordable power source, electricity providers in these states would have to turn to other sources. And with oil and natural gas prices already high due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, consumers in these states could be facing higher electric bills just in time for the warmer weather, which brings higher electric use with air conditioners and pool filters running to keep residents in warmer states cool and comfortable.

Whatever the future brings, discover tips to save money on your electric bills this summer.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.
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