John Macleod, Eric Loken, Colorado River discussed on Morning Edition


At L Creek Marina. People wait in line to back their trailers into the water to pull their boats out. And some, like Walter Sweat cough are frustrated. We've seen this late, go up and down many times, but we're not happy with it this year, of course. Cause we're all getting kicked out early and we paid for slips for the season. Blue Mesa is Colorado's largest reservoir. It's already less than 38% full, and now it's being forced to sacrifice more water to send to Lake Powell. Eric Loken is head of operations at Elk Creek Marina. He had to shut down six weeks early because of the low water levels. It's a big hit for us, for sure, there's a bunch of employees that thought they would be employed into October, and suddenly they're out looking for employment in the middle of August. The deepening drought in the West has dealt a double blow to Blue Mesa this summer. With climate change. There's less snowpack and warmer temperatures increase evaporation. So less water is making it into the Colorado River and reservoirs like Blue Mesa. And now the federal government is taking water from this lake and two other reservoirs. If we were full, it wouldn't be that big of a deal. But since we're already so low, and we're barely hanging on by our fingertips on trying to stay open, you take eight ft. Of water and suddenly we gotta shut the doors and Move everything out to deeper water, and there's nothing we can do about it. Lake Powell on the Utah Arizona border hit its lowest level on record earlier this summer. Loken worries the reservoir will need even more water from Blue Mesa. If the drought doesn't improve. The question is, are they just going to release whatever we get? That would become a very big problem for everyone around here. Blue Mesa and the other reservoirs were built in the 19 sixties for times of drought. It's a bank of water that the states can tap when they need it, says John Macleod, a water lawyer in Colorado. The water always goes to Lake Powell,.

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