Officials Pull ‘Emergency Lever’ as Lake Powell Plunges to New Low

The latest megadrought alarm bell just went off in the West. The Bureau of Reclamation began emergency water releases from reservoirs upstream in the Colorado River this week in an effort to keep Lake Powell, the country’s second-largest reservoir, full enough to continue to generate hydroelectric power.

The manmade lake, which sits along the crucial Colorado River, has reached the lowest levels it’s been in decades due to extreme heat and the searing drought that’s gripped the region coupled with overuse. The reservoir is projected to hit a critical new low of (1,075 meters) by April 2022, just 25 feet (7.6 meters) above the level at which hydropower can no longer be generated. The Bureau of Reclamation said the emergency releases from reservoirs upstream—which includes the Flaming Gorge Reservoir in Wyoming, the Blue Mesa Reservoir in Colorado, and the Navajo Reservoir in New Mexico—will continue until December and could last into next year.

gizmodo Officials Pull ‘Emergency Lever’ as Lake Powell Plunges to New Low