Save the Colorado River

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  • Linus Bountiful, UT
    June 4, 2012 7:33 p.m.

    Don't you think that North America should be un-settled, thus reducing the need for water. The Southwest was just a desert, and those who love deserts might like to see those lovely waste places restored to their pristine state. Blow up all the dams. Let the water run free. Let Mother Nature govern her domain. Humans, get lost. You don't belong here. Go home to Europe and Asia. I just love the free thinking of environmentalists. tsk! tsk!

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    June 4, 2012 4:09 p.m.

    HYDRO DAMS are eco-friendly in that they don't pollute. Yes the Glenn Canyon area is now under water but storing water from the Rocky Mountains is a smart thing for any civilized society to do. The Mormon pioneers were all about damming and storing water and wouldn't have survived without it in the arid west. There are always trade offs with energy production - the pro's out weigh the con's by a long shot. Remove the wattage generated by these BIG hydro dams and watch Vegas and LA dry up and blow away.

  • Mike@GCI Salt Lake City, UT
    June 4, 2012 12:02 p.m.

    So the article isn't written in a way that effectively presents the facts, but the truth is that moving the water from lake powell into mead would save well over 250,000 Acre-Feet of water per year. most people don't realize lake powell is only a bank account for us in the upper basin to insure we give the lower basin our required 8.XX MAF/year. neither reservoir will ever be full again, and if there is a situation where we have enough water, fine fill the glen, but don't hold your breath for it. for now it makes little sense. the BOR projects within the next 20 years the dam will be at dead-water anyway and the bank seepage problems with lake foul are immense. I encourage everyone to look past emotions to the facts before making your judgement on this issue.

  • fish8 Vernal, UT
    June 4, 2012 10:49 a.m.

    I think it was 3rd grade science where I learned that water is a closed system. We don't lose water. It evaporates and is reformed in clouds and comes down as rain or snow. The water that seeps into the ground isn't lost, it refills aquifers. Why this article wasn't in the opinions sections is anybodys guess. An article should contain facts and this article has none at all.

  • Dick of the NW Bainbridge Island, Washington
    June 3, 2012 11:59 p.m.

    In economics there is a phrase, the irreversibility of a bad decision. Draining Lake Powell would be one of these. As man is presented problems, he has to solve them. Most of the major dams in the West were solutions to a problem. There are no problems that would be soloved by draining the major dams. Draining would only solve the egos of the environmentalists.

  • utesby100 Salt Lake City, UT
    June 3, 2012 7:39 p.m.

    Probably the most important phrase in this whole article is "With the West rapidly growing, we cannot afford to lose this water in the arid Southwest." This could not be a more true statement. Many people in the Colorado Basin are completely unaware that we use more water than actually flows down the Colorado River each year - 1 million acre feet more (enough for all of Los Angeles). The only reason this has been possible is because we can draw water from dams. But if we continue to use more water than flows and persist in storing water in wasteful facilities, the reservoirs will fall even faster (Lakes Powell and Mead are both just over half full - they were completely full 10 years ago). This problem will only get worse as most scientists now agree that the current weather patterns in the Colorado Basin (what we call a drought) are actually a return to normal conditions. We have to find a way to manage our water better in the West. Draining Lake Powell and filling Lake Mead is a plausible solution. Lake Powell is just unused upper basin water anyway.

  • utesby100 Salt Lake City, UT
    June 3, 2012 7:32 p.m.

    @SamHill (and everyone else who said the facts were incorrect) many of the statements made in this article are actually right on par. Lake Powell is a tremendous hazard to the environment and does significantly add to the West's water shortage. Glen Canyon Dam traps 99% of sediment found in the Colorado River. That sediment is vital to the fragile ecosystems of the Grand Canyon and beyond - it is now difficult to create beaches and sandbars, natural habitats for the fish and wildlife that used to thrive in that area. The water loss figures are also accurate when Lake Powell is at full pool. Removing the dam might not be a viable option, but storing water in better ways would be. In fact, a study was just completed that said if all of the water that was currently stored in Lake Powell was instead stored in Lake Mead, the west would save nearly a half million acre feet of water every year - that's more than Nevada's allotment for several years.

  • Longfellow Holladay, UT
    June 3, 2012 1:14 p.m.

    Braden, this discussion has been going on for some time. On one side are a tiny minority of people like you and on the other side is the rest of the public. Some of your reasons for draining Lake Powell are not supported by actual data. Some of your stated benefits are modest at best. For example you state that we are: "deprived of the ... natural beauty of the Colorado River." That fact is that far more people enjoy the natural beauty of Lake Powell than would ever enjoy the Colorado River if the dam were removed. Excuse the pun, but the reason you and like minded people have been unable yo win the public over is because your arguments don't hold water.

  • Sensible Scientist Rexburg, ID
    June 3, 2012 10:39 a.m.

    A couple of fact checks.

    The dam produces power by taking clean water from high in the reservoir and dropping it hundreds of feet down to the turbines. Sediment collects on the bottom of the reservoir, primarily where the rivers enter -- very little sediment makes it to the dam.

    The generators produce as much power now as ever in the past, so it is highly doubtful that "energy experts" conclude that the dam's energy production is insignificant.

    Draining the reservoir would cause more environmental problems than keeping it. The lake has become a massive habitat for birds, animals, and fish. The sediment and calcium deposits, if exposed, would be tremendous eyesores, flood hazards, and landslide hazards for decades to come. The flood control provided by the dam would be gone.

    Yes, we lose a lot of water from Lake Powell. But focusing too narrowly on that problem does not produce a desirable solution. But perhaps there is a maximum desirable water level for the lake that would balance the many problems.

  • Dick of the NW Bainbridge Island, Washington
    June 2, 2012 10:31 p.m.

    Will someone please tell me why the greenies use conjecture and no facts to support their thoughts. I would say that volcanoes around the world pollute more than humans empirically speaking. Yes, let's just return to our covered wagons and candle power. We hear the same old left mantra every year. How about some new thought.

  • TheWiz41 Logan, UT
    June 2, 2012 6:09 p.m.

    Don't get me wrong, I want to see the Colorado River once again flow to its end in the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California), but emptying Lake Powell isn't going to do it. In a dry spell as we've had in the West, wouldn't eliminating Lake Powell do more harm than good?

    I believe that Lake Powell came about because of further regulation of the Colorado River. The water levels at Lake Mead would be even more at the mercy of the Colorado River if not for Lake Powell, if I'm not mistaken.

    I believe, even through intelligence and technology (which we unfortunately haven't done enough of), that we can be stewards of the planet--researching and finding cheap ways to desalinate ocean water and cut the use of Colorado River water by Southern California significantly, and getting the most use out of every drop we take. We can also increase, through proper wastewater treatment, the amount we treat and put back. At least that's my thought on the matter.

  • TheWiz41 Logan, UT
    June 2, 2012 6:02 p.m.

    "Energy experts now suggest the Glen Canyon Dam is not a significant power source." Then why, according to the below sites, is the output of the GCD roughly 3/4 that of Hoover Dam (3.45 to 4.2 Billion kWh per year) per the US Bureau of Reclamation*?

    I don't understand why Lake Powell gets so much of the brunt. Here's the dialogue from a "keeper" when they approach a "drainer" on the subject of LP that is very plausible:

    You want to drain Lake Powell? Why not just let the Colorado run free from source to mouth and get rid of Lake Mead, Mohave, Havasau, etc. while we're at it? What's that, you say? You're from Southern California? You like going to Las Vegas, too? Where do you get most of your water from? The Colorado? You need those Colorado River reservoirs to stay where you are? Ironic...I guess we aren't so different after all.

    *Comment format doesn't like links, as far as I know.

  • kaparowitz A.F., UT
    June 2, 2012 3:58 p.m.

    The dam is already there. Removing it is not likely to happen any time soon. Might as well focus on more productive lines of thought. Besides, hydropower doesn't pollute the environment.

    @Demo Dave: we are famous for being a self-appointed superior species??? More like self-evident. Also not too sure which species would recognize our fame. Though I suspect the Bos primigenius I had for dinner didn't realized how famous he makes my barbecues either.

  • Demo Dave Holladay, UT
    June 2, 2012 1:28 p.m.

    @ No ONe Of Consequence: "The changes we make to the environment are legitimate parts of that environment."

    As someone who cares deeply about the natural world (yes, you can call me an environmentalist), I find statements like yours to be reflective of the very self-appointed species superiority that we humans are famous for. In truth, we have a greater responsibility as stewards of the planet than we ought to have for our own mere comfort and convenience. If clean energy costs more than dirty energy, so be it. We have exceeded our right for dominance to the point where are now literally responsible for every other living thing on earth. We get to choose what lives and dies, what remains and what goes extinct. It's time we took that responsibility seriously.

  • Demo Dave Holladay, UT
    June 2, 2012 1:13 p.m.

    @ KDave: That's a little dramatic, isn't it? How about applying some logic instead of so much sophistry.

  • No One Of Consequence West Jordan, UT
    June 2, 2012 12:04 p.m.

    Why does every environmentalist solution come with economic devastation, higher cost of living for the little guy and reduction of food production? All of these would be the result of removing any of the dams on the Colorado

    Whether the earth was created for the use of man or man evolved here, man is part of the environment. Bees build hives, beavers build dams, man builds things too. The changes we make to the environment are legitimate parts of that environment.

    Man and man's stuff belong here.

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    June 2, 2012 12:02 p.m.

    What utter nonsense.

    From start to finish, this rant has one incorrect "fact" after another.

    It's amazing to me that such ridiculous blather continues, year after year, despite all the refutations disproving it.


  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    June 2, 2012 9:06 a.m.

    “This change can only be made by the people it affects most, the citizens deprived of the water and natural beauty of the Colorado River.”
    There are low-lying countries in the Pacific that consist of atolls that only rise a few feet above sea level that are under threat from rising sea levels caused in part by global warming. I think that they would be affected more than the citizens deprived of the natural beauty of the Colorado river. They should have a say also.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    June 2, 2012 9:00 a.m.

    If what environmentalists tell us about global warming is even half true, getting rid of Glenn canyon dam is the last thing we would want to do. This dam produces pollution free electricity. If the dam stopped producing this electricity, generators burning either natural gas or coal would have to replace it. According to environmentalists, this would make global warming worse.

    This would also increase the cost of the electricity, thus hurting our economy.

  • BASavage Orem, UT
    June 2, 2012 8:08 a.m.

    This is an argument that has been going on for the past three decades. Originally the dams across the Colorado were there to save the down stream areas from flooding and destorying crops. While hydro electric dams are affected by setiment the solution is not to get rid of the dam, but to reomove the setiment. The argument of restoring the river back to its original state would bring many unintended consequenses.

  • scottpehrson Monticello, utah
    June 2, 2012 7:26 a.m.

    That had to be one of the dumbest "articles" I have ever read.....what would be gained by having the majority of the Colorado River basin runoff not get stored in some manner so the usage can be extended throughout the months when the runnoff is not there like this year. Oh yeah...let's let California store it down there. I guarantee they would figure out some way to build damns and reservoirs before it got to the ocean. The snow falls in the Rocky Mountain states and they shoould be the ones that determine what happens to the water. Let California figure out how to get water out of the Pacific Ocean....The middle east has some of that figured out already.

  • KDave Moab, UT
    June 2, 2012 7:03 a.m.

    Yes, we should try to live like wild animals, who drown in floods and die of thirst in droughts. Or we can use our god-given intelligence to better ourselves.

  • stevo123 slc, ut
    June 2, 2012 6:57 a.m.

    If we lose our water to the Green river pipeline, and oil shale development there will be a lot less water going in to Powell. If you add a couple of more drought years, the dam will just be a interesting stop in the desert.