Boaters on the Colorado River below the dam urged to take caution
PAGE, Ariz.—The Bureau of Reclamation today increased the minimum amount of water that can be released hourly from Glen Canyon Dam. This adjustment, to 6,000 from 5,000 cubic feet per second (cfs), will help boaters better safely navigate the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon below the dam.
Hourly releases will fluctuate from the low of 6,000 cfs to a high of 8,000 cfs through Wednesday, Sept. 20.
“Daily releases split between 5,000 and 8,000 cfs during the nighttime and daytime, respectively, are the minimum releases authorized under environmental documents and have been in place since 1997. These low flows, however, may present additional challenges to boaters, particularly those operating certain types of large, motorized craft,” said Upper Colorado Basin Regional Director Wayne Pullan. “The decision to add 1,000 cfs for half of each 24-hour period, made in cooperation with National Park Service and other partners, creates a cushion for those boaters who may not have had time to prepare by changing craft type.”
Beginning Thursday, Sept. 21, as the motorized craft season nears conclusion, hourly releases are likely to return to a low of approximately 5,000 cfs in the nighttime and to a high of 8,000 cfs in the daytime. These releases are the lowest allowable and are consistent with the current 2016 Long-Term Experimental Management Plan Record of Decision.
Reclamation is balancing, as nearly as practicable, the contents of lakes Powell and Mead by Sept. 30, which is the end of water year 2023, as required under the Lower Elevation Balancing Tier, Section 6.D.1. of the 2007 Interim Guidelines.
“Given the variability of Lake Powell and Lake Mead inflows and demands, Reclamation’s work of balancing is complex and may require continual adjustment as the water year comes to an end,” said Pullan.
Boating on the Colorado River below Glen Canyon Dam has certain risks, especially during low flows. Boaters are encouraged to check conditions before heading out on the water and exercise caution while staying aware of changing conditions along the river.
For more information about Glen Canyon Dam operations, visit Water Operations | Upper Colorado Basin | Bureau of Reclamation (usbr.gov)