I don't know of a topic that draws more heated debate, aside from politics and global warming, than does the draining of Lake Powell.

Our story two weeks ago — "Will Powell be all dried up by 2021?" — drew 86 comments from readers, some thought-provoking, some tongue-in-cheek, but most with little good to say about scientists or their predictions.

Which, of course, is understandable.

Back when the dam was under construction, predictions were that the lake would never completely fill. Well, it did.

Predictions were that because of the remote location, only a couple hundred thousand people a year would visit. So much for that prediction.

When the lake was about 90 feet below the full mark, it was predicted the lake would never fill again. Within two years it not only filled, but rose seven feet over the full mark.

Prediction were when the lake was down 150 feet that it would never fill again. Since then it has risen about 60 feet, and fluctuated, and is expected to take another giant leap up this year.

The story said that researchers at San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography believe there's a 50 percent chance that lakes Mead and Powell will dry up by 2021 and that there is a 10 percent chance the two will be dry by 2013.

The reasons the center gave were global warming and excessive water consumption.

So what did readers have to say?

"Consistency" wrote: There's three things you can count on every year — (1) "Experts" predict a warmer, drier winter; (2) "Experts" predict a more intense hurricane season; (3) "Experts" predict a terrible holiday shopping season. Of course, these things don't happen, but at least we can get comfort from the consistency of them being predicted every year.

"Anonymous" wrote: Scientists are just people made up to scare conservatives, similar to universal health care or Al Gore.

"Experts" wrote: I am so sick and tired of stupid experts and the credibility that the media gives them. The track record of these so called "experts" is dismal.

Then there were these:

"What Ever" wrote: The sky is falling, the sky is falling. We are all going to die. Report that. Has the same amount of credibility.

"Taking a Stand" wrote: Are these the same "scientists" that told us without a doubt we would be in an ice age by now?

Then there were the believers.

"Bob" wrote: It doesn't take this report to see the truth in the matter. The Colorado river is drying up and shrinking every year, from its source to the run into the Pacific Ocean.

Personally, I like what "Times Change Quickly" wrote: A few years ago environmentalists were protesting and pushing to have Lake Powell and Lake Mead drained (probably using research from scientists in their arguments). Now we are up in arms that nature may do it for us.

Do we need to conserve? Of course. Do I go along with the "global warming" theory? It's hard for me to agree or not when I have 6-foot snowbanks in front of my home and there was an unusually high number of single-digit mornings this winter. I would sooner lean toward the theory and be safe, however, than ignore it and be sorry.

But the last thing in the world I would ever do is try to predict the rise and fall of Lake Powell. I've seen it rise and fall too many times.


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