There is a large reservoir, Lake Powell, on the Utah-Arizona border where house-boaters would have vacationed in past years, but now one of the two boat ramps once available to launch the motorized vessels is closed. At this closed-to-motorized-vessels ramp, people carry their kayak or paddle board down a steep slope to the water surface. Many house-boaters no longer visit this lake and as a result this affects the local economy.
Whether one believes in climate change or not, the reality at this lake is a 120 foot drop in the level of the water since the 1980’s and additional 30 foot drop this past year. That is a lot of water not available to us. The western states have forests with drying trees as a result of the mega-droughts experienced the last number of years, with wildfires scarring land so when it does rain the water flows elsewhere and never recovered.
Why do we need water in the lake, beyond our recreational use? It is part of a delivery system of drinking water that supplies Arizona, California and Nevada, along with Mexico. In the news you may have seen Las Vegas homeowners given rebates to convert their grassy lawns to xeriscapes, landscapes requiring no or less water. Also, Glen Canyon Dam, which currently holds the lake water, may no longer be able to generate electricity because the water level may be to low at the power generating stations.
As I stood at the closed boat launch, looking across the lake to the 100 foot high bathtub ring, I realized in past 1970’s visits to this lake there was plenty of water! Yet now we need to be smarter about our water use, hope for more rain and snow fall, and have a plan since climate scientists predict in ten years there may not be water in this lake.
I write this blog for my readers to see the lower waterline, closed boat launch, the bathtub ring where water once covered, and to encourage you to read up on the subject and think about water conservation in your own life. Westerners want snow and rain. There will be discussions about the future of the Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell. We need to be aware of how any decision may affect our own lives. Water is a natural resource we need for living!
Below are photos from the closed boat launch at Lake Powell: