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Lake Powell: Threatened Water Supply; Recovered Landscape

Jonathan Waterman describes a kayaking trip into Lake Powell—the "reservoir formed by the confluence of the San Juan and the Colorado Rivers and the holding power of Glen Canyon Dam" above the Grand Canyon.
November 29, 2014, 7am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Due to a persistent drought and the growing demands of industry and population, Lake Powell is now at half of its capacity. Jonathan Waterman kayaked in to describe this reversal of fate for the land once flooded by the river: "in place of a majestic reservoir, we saw only the thin ribbon of a reemergent river channel, which had been inundated for most of the past three decades by the lake. We called this new channel the San Powell, combining the name of the river and the lake."

The empty lake is also a recovered landscape: "Within a decade or two at the most, if the drought persists, we can expect to see hundreds of inundated ancient Anasazi ruins rising above the drying reservoir. Archaeologists will be delighted, just as kayakers like us delight at the reemergence of a river."

In addition to describing the re-emerged river channel, the article provides background on the lake's situation as well as the current policy discussions about how to maintain the water supply of the American Southwest.

Full Story:
Published on Sunday, November 23, 2014 in National Geographic
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