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Pinedale Online > News > March 2023 > Drought response releases suspended at Flaming Gorge Reservoir
Drought response releases suspended at Flaming Gorge Reservoir
by Wyoming State Engineer’s Office
March 6, 2023

Wyoming, along with Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and the Bureau of Reclamation, has agreed to suspend drought response releases from Flaming Gorge Reservoir beginning on March 7th. Suspending additional releases now will help to begin rebuilding storage in Flaming Gorge.

Since last May, additional water has been released from Flaming Gorge to help protect critical infrastructure and maintain hydropower generation at Glen Canyon Dam. Poor water supply conditions raised concerns that Lake Powell would drop below an elevation of 3,490 feet which would limit water releases and prevent hydropower generation. However, due to the success of actions taken to address declining Lake Powell elevations, as well as improved water supply conditions this year, additional water releases from Flaming Gorge are no longer needed in the near term. The currently projected wet conditions provide a critical opportunity to prepare for future dry conditions by retaining storage in Flaming Gorge.

The additional drought response releases from Flaming Gorge have been made pursuant to the 2022 Drought Response Operations Plan, and were scheduled to be made through April 2023 and total 500,000 acre-feet of water. Suspending those releases for the remainder of March and April will result in approximately 36,000 to 37,000 acre-feet less water being released than was originally planned. Even with reduced inflow from Flaming Gorge, current projections indicate that Lake Powell elevations will stay well above 3,490 feet through water year 2023.

Wyoming recognizes that the ongoing drought requires prudent management of available Colorado River flows and monitoring of Lake Powell elevations and risk to critical infrastructure at Glen Canyon Dam. However, given the wetter than average conditions in the Upper Colorado River Basin, Wyoming, working with the Bureau of Reclamation and the other Colorado River Basin states, intends to seek recovery of additional storage in Flaming Gorge this year.

Pinedale Online > News > March 2023 > Drought response releases suspended at Flaming Gorge Reservoir

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