Countdown to dead pool: Lake Powell’s uncertain future as the Colorado River dwindles

Since the Glen Canyon dam’s completion in 1966, Lake Powell has been a critical part of the Colorado River Basin. But drought and overuse have drained the “Jewel of the Colorado”; the largest reservoir in the West sits just under a quarter-full. “Dead pool,” when the lake falls to a level so low that the dam can no longer regulate the flow or produce power, would be an economic and environmental catastrophe. But there are other possible outcomes for the lake, including severe water cuts to save it or modifications to the dam to operate under drought conditions.