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Federal government proposes drought-driven changes to Hoover, Glen Canyon Dam operations

Glen Canyon Dam
Posted at 10:51 AM, Apr 11, 2023

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The federal government released its proposal to address water supply challenges in the Colorado River Basin on Tuesday.

The newly-released draft details three potential action plans from the Bureau of Reclamation, based on proposals submitted last year by the Colorado River water-using states.

The first plan — dubbed "No Action Alternative" in a release — details what would happen to water levels in both the Hoover and Glen Canyon Dams if the current guidelines were to continue operating.

The second plan would model a potential operational change where water would be distributed across the states, based on the "priority of water rights," which would allow the highest amount of water for California.

This model would also include a "reduced release" from Glen Canyon Dam, due to its increasingly low levels.

RELATED: Lake Mead water intake straw to be lowered as southern Nevada leaders eye water restrictions

The final plan would model an operational change that would distribute water from both reservoirs at the same percentage across all Colorado River water-using states. This model would also pull a reduced amount from Glen Canyon.

The Bureau of Reclamation is seeking public input on all three potential plans, and those interested can provide feedback through May 30, 2023. The instruction to provide feedback will be detailed in the Federal Register, which will be published on Friday, April 14.

Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo released a statement on Tuesday afternoon, calling the proposals an "important step in a multi-phased process."

Read the full statement below:

“Nevada has long been a leader in urban water efficiency, and our communities and citizens have a strong water conservation ethic. This is an important step in a multi-phased process to protect Lake Mead and put the Colorado River system on a more sustainable trajectory. I have directed our Colorado River representatives to remain actively engaged with state and federal partners and to make every effort to find consensus and agreement on a negotiated path forward. Each of the 40 million Americans that use the river deserve a reliable water supply, but it will take sacrifice from all of us to make that a reality.”

Additional information about the virtual public meetings can be found on the Bureau of Reclamation's website.