Lake Powell is running out of water

Not only is Lake Powell’s water level plummeting because of drought, its total capacity is shrinking, too – by nearly half a billion gallons a day and more than 40 percent, from nearly 7.6 billion gallons in 2000, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

That’s causing an unusual problem on the Colorado River, says Peter Fosberg, general manager of the Denver office of the nonprofit National Geo-Services.

Lake Powell is a critical source of the Colorado River, which supplies water to the San Diego and Imperial Beach metropolitan areas, as well as Las Vegas and the rest of Southern California.

“As water is being used in the water system, it affects the water level in the lake at the pumping stations. It’s making the lake run out,” Fosberg said.

In addition, Fosberg said, Lake Powell has just begun to lose water in its Colorado Basin storage reservoir, Lake Mead, which provides temporary storage for the main Colorado River.

Fosberg says there’s a growing belief that the Army Corps of Engineers, which is in charge of managing the Colorado River system, could take action to increase water supply in Lake Powell by building a second major lake, Lake Mead.

However, Fosberg said, a second lake would also have to be planned and built for the purpose of keeping Lake Powell full and the Colorado River flowing, whether to help fight drought or to allow a new, even more environmentally friendly reservoir like Lake Mead to be built.

Water shortages, drought and drought-fighting

Lake Powell, by far the biggest body of water in the Colorado River system, is the main source of water for San Diego and the Imperial Beach region. It’s the largest body of water on the American West, with more than 400 miles of shoreline and 1.7 million acres.

It isn’t a lake, but a large body of water that’s roughly 50 percent saltier than the sea, says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Lake Powell is also the source of water for residents in Las Vegas, where

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