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It's Time To Drain Lake Powell

900 words - 4 pages

It's Time to Drain Lake Powell

Many people know ‘Lake’ Powell as a fact of life. Since its creation in 1963, the reservoir, known as Lake Powell, is just there. Few people that are alive today have had the opportunity to see the true beauty of Glen Canyon, which rivals the Grand Canyon. Glen Canyon, equivalent to one hundred eighty river miles with dozens of side canyons, was flooded for the purpose of power and water resources. ‘Lake’ Powell also generates an enormous cash flow due to the tourism it receives. Although the ‘lake’ has a few reasons to remain in existence, there are many more reasons to drain it.

The positive aspects of ‘Lake’ Powell are few yet noteworthy. ...view middle of the document...

Although the ‘lake’ contains twenty seven million acre feet of water, one and a half million acre feet of water are lost yearly due to evaporation and seepage into the sandstone banks surrounding the ‘lake’ (Living Rivers: What about the water supply?). The loss of that much “water represents millions, even billions of dollars” (Farmer 183). If the government were to employ more water efficient irrigation practices, as much as five million acre feet of water per year could be saved. That is enough water to satisfy the predicted growth needs for one hundred fifty years. (Living Rivers: What about the water supply?). The Colorado River carries large amounts of sediment along with it. Congress, prior to approval of the dam, was aware of the fact “that sediment accumulation would force decommissioning of the dam within two hundred years of its completion” (Living Rivers: What about the sediment?). That means that the dam has been temporary from the beginning. The sediment that is accumulating below ‘Lake’ Powell contains, in large amounts, heavy metals and toxins leaking from watercraft, farms and uranium tailings. This is yet another reason that the reservoir should be drained now (Farmer 185). The cold and clear water being released by the dam, along with restricting the natural flow of the Colorado River, has also “changed the downstream ecosystem” (Farmer 184). The government vowed, in 1996, to decrease daily fluctuations and to carry out sporadic flood releases meant to stir up sediment from the riverbed, but getting rid of the dam is the only way to truly restore the ecosystem (Farmer 184). The dam is not even considered to be very safe.

In 1983 Glen Canyon Dam nearly overtopped and...

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