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Lake Powell is about to drop below a critical level never reached before

By Rachel Ramirez, CNN, March 3, 2022

“For the first time since it was filled more than 50 years ago, Lake Powell, the second-largest reservoir in the country, is projected to dip past a critical threshold, threatening water supplies and putting a key source of hydropower generation at heightened risk of being forced offline, as climate change-fueled drought continues to grip the Western US.

“Water managers were hopeful when the 2022 water year got off to a promising start, after the Colorado River Basin experienced a wetter-than-normal October, but the very next month saw the second-driest November on record, quickly diminishing the outlook.

“In California, a recent snow survey from the state Department of Water Resources showed reservoirs across the state will likely not fill up again this year.

“It may also be the case for the Colorado River basin. While it recently experienced substantial snowpack, the critically low water levels in reservoirs, coupled with the uncertainty of future snowpack, might require unprecedented action from governments.

“But given the rate at which the planet is rapidly warming, [Justin Mankin, co-lead of NOAA’s Drought Task Force] worries about the potential aftermath recovery process: ‘Then what? Do we go back to kind of normal operations?’ he said. ‘I feel a bit nervous about the fact that the climate is changing, but our management of water is not.’ ”

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