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Far from Lake Powell, drought punishes another Western dam

By Sammy Roth Photo: Robert Gauthier , Los Angeles Times

Water is flowing through two of three hydropower turbines in a blockish building at the base of Flaming Gorge Dam, so I can feel the floor buzzing — vibrations pulsating through my body — as Billy Elbrock leads me past the blue-and-yellow Westinghouse generators. The warehouse-like space is adorned with an American flag, and with the 1965 logo of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.


California’s biggest reservoirs at ‘critically low levels’ before dry season

By Ethan Freedman

Water levels in California’s two biggest reservoirs have dropped to “critically low levels” as the state faces another dry summer amid ongoing drought, according to a new report.


Facing a new climate reality, Southern California lawns could wither

By Joshua Partlow Photo: Jane Hahn , The Washington Post

From behind the wheel of his work van, Fernando Gonzalez took in the immaculate front yard amid the arid and affluent hills north of Los Angeles. The red and white rosebushes. The loquat and pear trees. The expanse of lush green grass and the two peacocks lounging beneath the portico.


As drought crisis deepens, government will release less water from Colorado River reservoir

By Ian James Photo : Luis Sinco , Los Angeles Times

After years of severe drought compounded by climate change, the water level in Lake Powell, the second-largest reservoir on the Colorado River, has dropped to just 24% of full capacity and is continuing to decline to levels not seen since the reservoir was filled in the 1960s.


Lake Mead plummets to unprecedented low, exposing original 1971 water intake valve

By Stephanie Elam

The West is in the grips of a climate change-fueled megadrought, and Lake Mead — the largest manmade reservoir in the country and a source of water for millions of people — has fallen to an unprecedented low.


Drought Is Threatening Hydropower in the Southwestern US

By Doug Johnson

NEWS THAT LAKE Powell, a reservoir on the border of Arizona and Utah, is slowly but surely drying up has spread far and wide. Behind the 1,320-megawatt Glen Canyon Dam and power station, Lake Powell plays an important role in providing power for some 3 million customers in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.


The longest drought, redefined

Maps of the American West have featured ever darker shades of red over the past two decades. The colors illustrate the unprecedented drought blighting the region. In some areas, conditions have blown past severe and extreme drought into exceptional drought. But rather than add more superlatives to the descriptions, one group of scientists believes it's time to reconsider the very definition of drought.


As Lake Powell Hits Landmark Low, Arizona Looks to a $1 Billion Investment and Mexican Seawater to Slake its Thirst

By Aydali Campa Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

During his last year in office, Gov. Doug Ducey is trying to create a legacy of water security in drought-stricken Arizona. But his most ambitious effort in that quest could end up being in Mexico.


California’s drought is strangling the farming industry

By Scott Wilson Photo: John Brecher/For The Washington Post

Westside Elementary opened its doors nearly a century ago here in the San Joaquin Valley, among the most productive agricultural regions on earth. As recently as 1995, nearly 500 students filled its classrooms. Now 160 students attend and enrollment is falling fast.


Lake Powell Is in Big Trouble

By Molly Taft

Lake Powell, on the border of Utah and Arizona, is a crucial reservoir along the Colorado River, part of a system that supplies water for 40 million people in multiple states across the West. As of Tuesday, according to readings provided by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the lake stood at 3,526 feet (1,074.73 meters) above sea level, or around 24% of its total capacity. That’s just 1 foot above a threshold of water outlined in drought contingency plans, which would trigger additional releases from upstream water sources. Authorities say that this month, the lake could dip below the 3,525-foot (1,074.2-meter) trigger point, part of a series of new lows the lake has been hitting since reaching its previous lowest level on record, 3,555.09 feet (1083.6 meters), in July. The image above, captured by the European Union’s Copernicus Sentinel-3 satellite in late February, shows the parched Colorado River and Lake Powell from space.