(CNN) – Lake Powell, the second largest dam in the United States, is drying up.
Condition important: If the water level in the lake drops further by 9 meters, all hydropower generation at Glen Canyon Dam will stop.
The water crisis triggered by climate change in the West is causing an energy crisis for millions of people in the southwest who depend on the dam for energy. In recent years, the Glen Canyon Dam has lost about 16% of its power generation capacity. The water level of Lake Powell has dropped by about 100 feet in the last 3 years.
Bob Martin, deputy director of the Glen Canyon Dam, pointed to the so-called “bathtub ring” in the valley walls. Kilometers of white rocks indicate the problem of this area.
“The water there whitened the rock, how high the water was at one point,” Martin told CNN.
As the water level decreases, the production of water also decreases. The dam uses Colorado River water gravity to generate electricity for 5.8 million homes and businesses in seven states, including Nevada and New Mexico.
Brian Hill runs a public power company in Arizona where the Federal Dam is located, and compares the situation to Doomsday.
“Judgment Day we knock on the door, Judgment Day when there is no water to give to anyone.”
40% of the power of the side comes from the Glen Canyon Dam. Without it, they would be forced to replace that electricity with fossil fuels such as natural gas, which emit gases that heat the planet and exacerbate the water crisis in the West.
As the dam loses electricity, the cost of fossil fuels rises, costing consumers more energy.
“If nothing changes, in other words, if the page does not get a little moisturized, in particular, we see an additional 25% to 30% on energy costs,” Hill told CNN.
Arash Molemi, deputy general manager of the Navajo Tribal Utilization Authority, told CNN that the loss of electricity at the Glen Canyon Dam would be catastrophic for the Navajo community.
“We have 40% unemployment and our personal income is just over $ 10,000,” Molemi said. “High energy prices mean some people can’t heat or cool their homes.”
The federal government, which technically controls the hydropower flowing through the dams operated by the federal government, sells electricity to the states for less than the commercial market price. In the worst case scenario, the home ministry plans to shut down the dam in January.
The company is now weighing in on the urgency of buying the dam over time.
In a letter to seven Western states this month, the Interior Ministry recommended that Powell Lake release less water to lower states this year. The proposal calls for the retention of 42.6 billion gallons of water equivalent to 42.6 billion gallons, which means that the amount of water that people can use in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming will be cut deep.
So far this year, 110 billion gallons of water have been stored.
This impossibility came about as new images show that one of the lake’s original water intake valves since 1971 now rises above the water line, Powell’s downstream neighborhood and the country’s largest dam, Lake Mead, have historically fallen to its lowest level.
Inside the Glen Canyon Dam, the current water level still produces electricity.
The dam’s power station has eight generators. The force of the water passing through the 4 meter diameter pipes strikes the turbines and then they generate power. If the water level in Lake Powell drops another 30 feet, those generators will stop running.
The climate crisis is forcing federal and state governments to make drastic decisions and drastic measures to provide electricity and water to Americans in the Southwest.
The home ministry is expected to make a final decision on how to deal with the dam’s dire situation in early May.
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