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See inside Glen Canyon Dam as Lake Powell ranges drop


This article was initially featured on High Country News.

Glen Canyon Dam was constructed primarily to retailer extra Colorado River water throughout moist years, so it might be launched throughout dry spells and used to generate energy. Now, with aridification depriving the river of these extra flows, each capabilities are imperiled. In April, Lake Powell fell perilously near the purpose at which dam operators must cease sending water by means of the generators, depriving the grid of sufficient electrical energy to energy a few quarter of 1,000,000 houses yearly. It would additionally drain between $100 million and $200 million yearly from dam electrical energy gross sales, a few of which helps fund endangered species restoration, salinity management and water research on the Colorado River. Officials have launched further water from upstream dams and are presently letting much less of it circulate by means of Glen Canyon Dam, elevating water ranges simply sufficient to maintain the generators spinning. —Jonathan Thompson

The water degree at Lake Powell continues to drop and will quickly threaten the electricity-generating generators of Glen Canyon Dam, seen within the distance. Luna Anna Archey/High Country News
See inside Glen Canyon Dam as Lake Powell levels drop

Gus Levy, plant facility manager, walks previous hydropower generators. Due to the low water degree, solely 5 of the eight generators function each day, although all eight should be stored in working order. Luna Anna Archey/High Country News
See inside Glen Canyon Dam as Lake Powell levels drop
As the facility plant makes use of such massive portions of oil, used, soiled oil is cleaned and reused. The oil might be repurposed for many years (left). Adrian Kelly, an influence plant mechanic, stands for a portrait after welding a water pipe that will likely be used to chill the dam’s new energy transformers (proper). Luna Anna Archey/High Country News
See inside Glen Canyon Dam as Lake Powell levels drop
Pieces of a everlasting magnet generator from one of many generators. Luna Anna Archey/High Country News
See inside Glen Canyon Dam as Lake Powell levels drop
Electrician Ray Dugi bikes into the dam’s machine store; workers use bike toolboxes to get across the big energy plant. Dugi has labored on the dam for 25 years. Luna Anna Archey/High Country News
See inside Glen Canyon Dam as Lake Powell levels drop
Retro gauges from when Glen Canyon Dam first was constructed (proper). Inner workings of the dam (left). Luna Anna Archey/High Country News
See inside Glen Canyon Dam as Lake Powell levels drop
Glen Canyon DamÕs consumption factors for the water to energy the plant’s eight generators will likely be above the water line–the minimal energy pool–if the lake degree drops one other 33 toes. If that occurs, the plant will be unable to generate energy, although it might have to be maintained in case the water degree rises sooner or later. Luna Anna Archey/High Country News



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