Worst Colorado River drought in century prompts feds to cut releases from Lake Powell
Lower water levels could cut off power production at Glen Canyon Dam as soon as the winter of 2015, affecting power supply and pricing in six states.
Less water coming into Lake Mead may bring the level below an intake pipe that delivers water to Las Vegas by the spring of 2015.
By the winter of 2015, Lake Mead may also dip to a level that will result in a major decline in power generation at Hoover Dam, affecting supply and cost of power for consumers in three states, including California.
The bureau's Lower Colorado Regional Director Terry Fulp did point to the unpredictability and variability in the Colorado River system.
“With a good winter snowpack next year, the outlook could change significantly as it did in 2011, but we also need to be prepared for continuing drought," he said.
At present, the longer-term projections from the agency's hydrologic models show a very small chance of lower basin delivery shortages in 2015, with the first significant chance of reduced water deliveries in the lower basin in 2016.
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