Low water levels at reservoirs across the states of Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and Utah mean a reduction in hydroelectric production, which dropped 20 percent for water year 2022, said the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR).
Although hydropower production is down about 30 percent overall since 2000, it has plummeted a full 20 percent since 2021 for the 2022 year ending Sept. 30. "The outlook is likely for a pretty low generation years," Nick Williams, BOR upper Colorado River Basin power manager, said.
According to the report, Lake Powell's Glen Canyon Dam, which produces most of the Colorado River systems hydropower, is down about 78 percent.
Absolute dead silence on the U.S. Main Stream Media! This is not news??!! The Colorado River has a discharge of 22,000 cubic feet per second but the Mississippi River has a discharge of 593,000 cubic feet per second, 27 times larger and not a single word. Look at the power of the https://t.co/qU8llB67nc
Compared to a pre-drought average from 1988 to 1999, the most recent water year hydroelectric generation is down about 43 percent. The beginning of the 21st-century marked what scientists now believe is the driest 22-year stretch in the southwest in the past 1,200 years.
Recent drops in hydroelectric power production from the Southwest's most important river, the Colorado, have officials "rethinking how much power generation can reasonably be relied upon from that system" on a long-term basis.
"We are starting to look really hard at the assumptions that go into what we do base our numbers under storage typical models and question ability of those," Williams said, adding that "the prudent thing to do is to plan for something that's likely lower long-term and then it's easier to react more water and power than it is to the less."