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Draining Powell

Bikes

Active Member
There is a rumor goin round that Powell will be drained 19 feet to extend the boat ramps. If so, then Powell would probably not return to it's current level until 2022. We only had a 10 foot water level rise in 2021 under a bigger snowpack and better soil moisture levels than now. Without more heavy snows, I think we could have near zero lake rise this year such that recovering from this drop would be very slow considering that Powell discharge must be maintained for minimal River flow and electricity production. I am trying to imagine what Bullfrog and north would look like. Hope this will not be done.
 

JFRCalifornia

Well-Known Member
I’m unaware of this and I follow lake level issues pretty closely. It seems inconceivable that USBR would drain the lake by 19 feet (about 1.5 maf at the current level) just to extend boat ramps...

Water discharges out of Lake Powell through the dam are tightly regulated and tied to meeting downstream water needs per a variety of federal laws... boat ramps don’t figure into that. And with Powell as low as it already is, I’m sure USBR wouldn’t want to jeopardize future power generation or water storage...
 

Line

Member
I have often wondered how long the ramps go underwater before they simply drop off a cliff ledge...if any do.
 

botnb

Well-Known Member
in MY thinking, ( and those who know me get scared , when I say that) , if they had any real grasp of Western Water, they would have had provisions to deepen the cut anytime they could, if justified... I don't remember ever seeing Wahweap's ramps ending in a sheer wall...so I call that proposal BS..
 

Bikes

Active Member
I got news of the draining plan second hand and do not want to put some one on the spot but the info seemed reliable because they also indicated that the water level would rebound by Sept which would be very unlikely. Utah drought assessment below:

 

Dave I.

Well-Known Member
Just a quick thought here....

Current lake level is 3574'. If you drain the lake by 19', that would take it down to 3555'.

Hall's Crossing minimum "safe" level is at 3550' and I believe it is the deepest ramp on the Northern end of the lake. Feel free to quote me if I am wrong on this.

Doing such a thing at this time (drought and all) would basically make the entire north end a ghost town and unusable for the entire summer probably.

Imagine going to Halls, knowing how steep their ramp is and knowing there is a cliff just feet behind your trailer wheels when you launch.
Seems the "Launch Ramps" links have been removed from the new page but the old WW site did show this Hall's launch drop off.

The good thing is I read they are implementing the emergency drought contingency plan for the Lake Powell drainage basin. The article was in "The Bypass" newspaper out of Escalante, UT if anyone wants to look it up. But I don't think they are online yet.
 

Dave I.

Well-Known Member
There are detailed maps that I don't have that show show the slopes and elevations below the current ramps. I hope some one posts this data which will show how and if the ramps can be extended.
I do know Hall's can not be extended or moved. Bullfrog has a few more options possibly.
 

Dave I.

Well-Known Member
Here are a few topo maps of the lake bottom. go to the 100' mark and that would be close to todays elevation and lake bottom.

LP TopoDSCN0637_610.JPGLP TopoDSCN0638_611.JPG
 

Trix

Well-Known Member
I clicked around a little bit, but I couldn't find evidence to support my belief that the Wahweap "boat ramp" extends to the original river bed. It's probably an eroded dirt road, but the grade of the terrain would allow some level of boat access at very low lake levels.
Off topic-- The earth's total water volume never changes except from liquid to gaseous form, so I've read, so I am not convinced the LP watershed will never see precipitation like we got in the 1980's, for instance. Now, growing demands on the water supply is a problem, but increased demand makes reservoirs even more valuable to stabilize supplies.
 
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