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Drought and the Future of Colorado River's Great Dams

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The Glen Canyon Dam is an enormous structure located near the Utah-Arizona border about twenty miles north of the Grand Canyon. It was built to harness and store Colorado River water for surrounding states, and to generate clean energy to power the region. It stands as a symbol of twentieth century ingenuity, a feat of engineering that allowed towns to thrive in the desert. But in the reality of today's ongoing drought, with water levels at historic lows, not just at Lake Powell behind Glen Canyon Dam, but in Hoover Dam's Lake Mead as well, there's an effort underway to combine the two dams into one. The end result could save 179 billion gallons of water a year, enough for a large population city like Los Angeles.

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Aerial view of Glen Canyon Dam and Wahweap Basin of Lake Powell
Photo: Bureau of Reclamation