Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Water issues...

News articles about last winters snow pack in the Rocky Mountains are starting to make the rounds.

Read this article, I found it interesting... especially these passages...

Across the West this spring, the picture is similar, with abundant mountain snow in most areas promising runoff that will provide a break from the drought that has sporadically parched the region since late 1999.

The Colorado mountains are poised to unleash more runoff than they have in 11 years. Streams in Washington and Oregon are forecast to carry up to 50 percent more water than usual. Lake Powell, stretching more than 100 miles across Utah and Arizona, is expected to rise 50 feet from its current depleted state.


The consequences are far-reaching. More than a half-dozen significant rivers originate in the Colorado mountains and flow through at least 10 other states and Mexico. The water is divvied up under nine interstate compacts, three U.S. Supreme Court decrees and two international treaties.

One of those rivers, the Colorado, flows into Lake Powell behind Glen Canyon Dam, a key link in the complicated and often contentious system that stores and dispenses the river's water.

Lake Powell was full in 1999 but has fallen 100 feet because some of those agreements required that more water be delivered to Mexico and down-river states than the river brought in.

For the first time since 2003, the lake will be high enough to let boaters pass through a formation called the Castle Rock cut, lopping 12 miles off the voyage from the southern end of the lake to the northern.

"It'll mean more trips up-lake for me than I've had for several years," said Gary Wantis of Page, Ariz., who owns a 28-foot cruiser and manages the Lake Powell Yacht Club.


Deeper water in Lake Powell and other reservoirs also helps the federal Bureau of Reclamation's hydroelectric plants run more efficiently, and they're projected to crank out 400 million more kilowatt-hours this year than last, an increase of up to 8 percent and enough to power 33,000 homes for a year, spokeswoman Lisa Iams said.

Water utilities in Phoenix and Denver said they expect their supplies to be in good shape. Salt Lake City's Department of Public Utilities expects average levels.

There aren't many things that I'd like to see more than Lake Mead rising a bit, for selfish reasons (fishing).

I'm not posting this article to say that all of our water resource problems are solved or anything like that. We should all be doing our best to conserve whatever water sources we have. I just saw this report as a bit of good news in the otherwise 'bad news' world that we have been living in as far as water is concerned. Maybe a few more winters like last year and a noticeable rise in lake levels will reduce some of the freaking out people have been doing lately. Maybe.

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