A 20-Year Megadrought Threatens Hydropower in the West


A twenty year. Mega drought in the west is threatening hydropower. For millions of people so the federal government is taking emergency action it sending water from other reservoirs to lake powell to help. Keep the power turbines. They're spinning. here's michael. Elizabeth sack is from colorado public radio at elk creek marina. People wait in line to back their trailers into the water to pull their boats out. And some like walter. Slut cough are frustrated. Resumes legua up and down many times. But we're not happy with it this year. Of course because we're all getting kicked out early and we pay for slips for the season. Blue mesa is colorado's largest reservoir. It's already less than thirty percent full. And now it's being forced to sacrifice more water to send to lake powell eric. Logan 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 doctor would be employed into october and suddenly they're out looking for employment in 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 into other reservoirs. If we were full it wouldn't be that big 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 feet of water and suddenly we got 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. Logan worries the reservoir will need even more water from blue mesa. If the drought doesn't improve the question is are they going to release whatever we get. That would become a very big problem for everyone around here. Blue may sat and the other reservoirs were built in the nineteen 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 and this release is part of the plan. And it's using the reservoirs for one of their intended purposes

Coming up next