Calls Grow for ‘One-Dam Solution’ on Colorado River

California growers and others in the river’s Lower Basin want the federal government to consider draining Lake Powell to conserve more water downstream.

1 minute read

September 13, 2023, 11:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Aerial view of Glen Canyon Dam on Colorado River among red rocks

shuvro ghose / Adobe Stock

Two major California growers are calling on the Bureau of Reclamation to consider a proposal to remove Glen Canyon Dam, draining Lake Powell and allowing the Colorado River’s water to only accumulate in Lake Mead, farther downstream.

As Ian James explains in the Los Angeles Times, the one-dam proposal was once the purview of environmentalists. Now, some farmers believe removing the dam could help preserve the river’s dwindling resources and prevent the water from being used up by hydropower operations upstream of their agricultural operations in California’s Imperial Valley. “California uses more Colorado River water than any other state. And in the Imperial Valley, the Imperial Irrigation District delivers the single largest share of the river’s water to farmlands that produce crops including hay and vegetables.”

The Colorado River’s shrinking water supply has been a major challenge for the western states that rely on it. Farther upstream, Upper Basin officials—including in Utah, where the state plans to build a new pipeline from Lake Powell—want to see more reductions in usage in the Lower Basin states. See the source article for more details on the dam’s condition and proposals being weighed by federal officials.

Tuesday, September 5, 2023 in Los Angeles Times

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