Plan to Limit Water Releases From Lake Powell Underscores Urgency of Colorado River Water Shortages
DENVER, Col., May 3, 2022 — The United States Department of Interior announced today it intends to reduce the previously scheduled amount of water released from Lake Powell to California, Arizona and Nevada. This necessary reduction equates to the amount of water used in approximately 1 million U.S. households for a year. Without these and other actions, water levels in Lake Powell are at risk of falling below the minimum amount needed to maintain the hydropower electrical grid at Glen Canyon Dam, which provides power to millions. Shrinking water levels in Lake Powell also mean drinking water supplies for communities downstream, including Page, Arizona, and specific chapters of Navajo Nation, could be cut off.
These decisions come in response to historically low water levels in the reservoir. A recent national poll found 73% of Americans are worried about climate change and water scarcity, while one-quarter of voters believe their state will not have enough water during their grandchildren's lifetimes (the next 100 years).
The Walton Family Foundation issued the following statement from Ted Kowalski, who leads the foundation’s Colorado River initiative:
“We appreciate the Bureau of Reclamation running an inclusive process with the states, tribal nations and the environmental community. This is an important step but there’s still so much more to do.
“In the face of climate change, we know that people are unified around natural infrastructure projects that help ecosystems conserve water resources. We also need to empower local communities to reduce water usage and support the switch to sustainable and regenerative farming and ranching methods.
“As we tackle these issues, it is critical that we deliberately include those most impacted by water shortages, such as the tribes and rural communities, when developing strategies. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity through the bipartisan infrastructure law that was just passed to develop climate-resilient water solutions. We need everyone at the table for this work.”
About the Walton Family Foundation
The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. Three generations of the descendants of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, and their spouses, work together to lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. To learn more, visit waltonfamilyfoundation.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.