The Shrinking of Lake Powell

Sienna Zamkoff ‘26


Lake Powell. A lake in the serenity of Utah. A beautiful one indeed. One might wonder what the controversy surrounding the lake really is. Striving to answer these questions, this article will help emphasize the record low water levels of the lake. 


  According to NASA, the water levels have reached an all-time low due to recent events. This is a direct result of increased global temperatures. This phenomenon causes extreme weather, including flooding and droughts. This increase in droughts is causing the water in Lake Powell to evaporate leaving the lake with extremely low water levels. Currently, Lake Powell sits at 26 percent capacity and the water elevations at 3,533.3 making the lake’s current state the lowest since 1967 [1]. This lake has now been reduced and has started to open people’s eyes to climate change.

Interestingly, the consistently reducing water levels have revealed some gruesome secrets about the populations surrounding the lake throughout the past decades.  In fact, CNN reporter Rachel Rameriz reports that service rangers were called because a dead body appeared in the neighboring Lake Mead [2]. Unfortunately, most of the people who were found in the lake were murder victims. It is clear that the popular belief that the depth of the lake would hide these secrets. However, now that the levels in the lake are plunging, it has been revealing bodies that would’ve never been found otherwise.

Why should we care about the shrinking of Lake Powell? Well, Lake Powell is not only a beautiful landmark in the Glen Canyon, but also provides water and power to around 40 million people in surrounding areas such as Los Angeles, San Diego, and Phoenix. The fearful low levels place the surrounding towns at the risk of low access to power [1]. If the water levels of Lake Powell were to decline, even more, it would affect the water supply and hydroelectric power used from the lake [3]. This is causing the government to start rationing water and the power supply that is provided. The low levels are also causing this beautiful landmark to close. The national park website states that designated areas for viewing the Lake are closed due to low water levels [4]. The current shrinking of Lake Powell is a great way to see the effects of climate change in the United States. Additionally, the issue of drying water and low water levels are affecting many other lakes in the surroundings, thus making this problem a national one. 

This leaves the question of what not only the government can do, but also what us, citizens can do to protect our beautiful and resourceful Mother Nature.