The Bureau of Reclamation today announced Lake Powell will decline below 3,525
feet in elevation in the near future, reflecting the abnormally dry winter season. The drop is temporary
and Lake Powell’s elevation is expected to recover above 3,525 feet through the course of the spring
runoff season, likely in May. Reclamation, the Upper Division States, and the Upper Colorado River
Commission are preparing additional measures to implement later this year to help maintain elevation
3,525 feet at Lake Powell.
A very dry January and February eroded the Colorado River Basin’s snowpack, decreasing Lake Powell’s
projected unregulated inflow forecast for water year 2022 by approximately 2.2 million acre-feet from
January through February. As a result, the February 24 Month Study projections show Lake Powell
potentially dropping 2 to 3 feet below 3,525 feet in March.
Reclamation’s Upper Colorado Basin Region and the Upper Division States, with the assistance of the
Upper Colorado River Commission, are preparing a Drought Response Operations Plan that will
propose additional actions to help protect Lake Powell elevations in 2022 if necessary.
“We appreciate the collaboration among Reclamation and the Upper Basin States at this critical time to
develop the 2022 Drought Response Operations Agreement Operations Plan. We are optimistic these
actions will provide additional protection to critical elevations in Lake Powell,” said Chuck Cullom,
Executive Director of the Upper Colorado River Commission.
Reclamation continues to closely monitor the Basin’s snowpack and runoff projections. Reclamation, the
Upper Division States, and the Upper Colorado River Commission are actively engaged with Tribes,
federal agencies such as the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Western Area
Power Administration; water users, non-governmental organizations and other key stakeholders,
including the public, to protect the elevations of Lake Powell and Lake Mead.