According to an article in the August 17 edition of the Deseret News, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has taken emergency steps to reduce the amount of water taken from Lake Powell to its lowest level since the reservoir was filled in the 1960s.
“This is the worst 14-year drought period in the last hundred years,” according to Larry Walkoviak, Upper Colorado Regional Director. Lake Powell is only 45% full, triggering the emergency action.
The Colorado River basin is the major source of water for agriculture, outdoor tourism, and residential use in much of the West, including the city of Las Vegas. Reducing the amount of water flowing out of Lake Powell will negatively
affect the water level in Lake Mead downstream, which could result in much less power generated by the Hoover Dam, as well as water shortages in Las Vegas as one of the city’s major water intakes will become useless if the lake’s level declines too far.