March 8, 2023 – Last summer, extra water from the Flaming Gorge reservoir in Utah and Wyoming was released in an emergency measure to protect water levels in Lake Powell. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced that next week, it will suspend the extra releases.
The decision comes after the Upper Basin states — Utah, New Mexico, Wyoming and Colorado — asked the Bureau to suspend the releases so that Flaming Gorge can refill. The Upper Basin states cite the above-average precipitation this winter that will lead to increased snow melt that will feed the Colorado River system.
The emergency releases had been scheduled to finish by the end of April, the Arizona Daily Sun reports.
Nevada Public Radio notes the ongoing tension between the Upper Basin states and the Lower Basin States of Arizona, California and Nevada, writing that in the context of the system’s Drought Contingency Plan, “Lower Basin leaders are asking to be consulted before other state and federal water managers make decisions about this kind of water decision.” The Lower Basin states caution that more releases may be needed in the future if the boosted runoff from this year’s snowpack does not materialize.
Story on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeOGzVnpyJI
Flaming Gorge Dam, Public Domain.