Pamela Mon, Elizabeth Sack, Elk Creek Marina discussed on Environment: NPR

Environment: NPR


Support for npr in the following message. Come from y'all and pamela mon thanking the people who make public radio great every day and also those who listen 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 but in twenty nineteen after it was clear that the prolonged drought was only getting worse. The states that share the colorado river agreed to this new plan. that's what triggered the emergency water releases. When lake powell dropped to a point that threatened hydro-electricity production. Eric night is a hydrologist for the. Us bureau of reclamation. Hydropower generation is obviously very important to a lot of the customers around the western states. And also there's a lot of funding for programs that come from hydropower revenue. The money from hydropower helps pay for the construction and maintenance of the dams and reservoirs lake powell's dam is already producing west power because of the drought. So the federal agency that distributes. The electricity has had to buy more power for its customers. And it's expected that the price of that power will go up night says if snowpack and water runoff remained low. Again next year the federal government could take more water from blue mesa and the other reservoirs. Obviously we need to be ready to do something. And so we've done a little bit so far but you know no one can really answer the question as to whether it's not that would be enough or not. Researchers have found that much of the past. Two decades of western drought is due to the warming. Climate night says the tens of millions of people who rely on the complex colorado river management system might need to adapt it to an even drier warmer future one. Its creators never imagined for npr.

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