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PRESS RELEASE: Upper Basin Plans Large New Dam/Reservoir On The Colorado River?

For Immediate Release
April 25, 2018
Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Colorado, 970-218-8310

Upper Basin Plans Large New Dam/Reservoir On The Colorado River?

Colorado River, USA: Today, the “West Slope Roundtables” in the state of Colorado are meeting to discuss issues related to Colorado’s use of Colorado River water (the agenda is here).  One of the main items on the agenda is the “Colorado River Risk Study” which analyzes and predicts the likelihood of the Colorado River water supply system collapsing and Lake Powell being drained due to ongoing drought and climate change.

The study also proposes various ways to mitigate the problem including draining upper basin reservoirs into Lake Powell, “demand management” in the upper basin (decreasing water use), as well as a new idea — building a large new reservoir to “bank” water in the upper basin.

At the meeting, a presentation will be shown in which a large new dam/reservoir — around 1 million acre feet — is built above Lake Powell in Utah. The presentation (posted here, slide 26) places the reservoir on the Dirty Devil River near Hite, Utah, just above the confluence with the Dirty Devil and the Colorado River. The reservoir would presumably be used to store (“bank”) upper Colorado River water to be released into Lake Powell to try and keep the level of Lake Powell high enough so the hydroelectric turbines at Glen Canyon Dam can continue to operate.

“The Colorado River Risk Study continues to depict the extremes to which the upper basin states are willing to go to try and save Lake Powell,” said Gary Wockner of Save The Colorado. “Potentially billions of dollars may be spent, including building a massive new and environmentally destructive dam and reservoir, almost solely to try and save the hydropower scheme at Glen Canyon Dam when they should be planning to decommission the dam and tear it down.”

“Trying to save Glen Canyon Dam is throwing good money, and water, after bad,” continued Wockner. “There’s simply not enough water in the river to keep all of the reservoirs operating, and to think the solution is to build yet another dam and reservoir reeks of a farcical ‘sunk-costs-fallacy’ mindset. This would be like Apple announcing a major new investment in rotary land-line phones.”


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