Reclamation Forecasts Low Lake Powell Water Release for 2014
As part of its ongoing management of Colorado River reservoirs, the Bureau of Reclamation determined that only 7.48 million acre-feet (maf) would be released from Lake Powell in water year 2014 (Oct. 1, 2013 – Sept. 30, 2014). An annual release of 7.48 maf is a 9 percent reduction from 2013 and the lowest release since the filling of Lake Powell in 1963. Lake Mead is projected to decline an additional eight feet during 2014 as a result of the lower Lake Powell annual release. However, Lake Mead will continue to operate under normal conditions, with water users in the Lower Colorado River Basin and Mexico receiving their full water allotments. These projections reflect Reclamation’s 24-Month Study Report, which provides projected reservoir operations for all major system reservoirs in the Colorado River Basin over a two-year period. Projections are updated monthly to reflect changes in weather and the resulting hydrology. Thus, they are subject to change as the year progresses, and the picture may improve if there is good winter snowpack. Annual releases are based on reservoir levels in Lake Powell and Lake Mead and the 2007 Colorado River Interim Guidelines for Lower Basin Shortages and the Coordinated Operations for Lake Powell and Lake Mead, which provides Colorado River users with a degree of certainty about annual water deliveries.