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Water level

Bonita Springs...
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1,920 posts
110 reviews
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Water level

We are scheduled to leave from Antelope marina on September 3rd for a 4 day trip. Can someone tell me if water levels are a concern?

Cedar City, UT
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307 posts
155 reviews
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1. Re: Water level

There are numerous websites that offer updated Powell water levels. One is www.graphs.water-data.com/lakepowell/

Despite our below average snow fall this past winter, you won't have any problems accessing the Lake from Antelope as it bypasses the Castle Creek cutoff that is the desired short cut from Wahweap when water levels are high. Even from Wahweap, access to Padre Bay and beyond is always possible during low water seasons. It just requires the longer route of the canyon between Wahweap and Antelope.

Powell is an ever changing lake, with water dropping as much as a foot a day so it's always important to keep a keen eye on the horizon, for barely submerged shelves, when underway.

The sheer size of the lake and fluid conditions, prohibit the park service from marking all hazards.

Have a great trip and smooth sailing.

Destination Expert
for Lake Powell
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2. Re: Water level

Randi points out an excellent website that tracks water levels at Lake Powell. To put all that data you're looking at in perspective, the current lake level of about 3,626 feet above sea level is 74 feet below full, but not a cause for concern. It is about 14 feet above the level needed to navigate the Castle Rock Cut, which is a handy shortcut from Wahweap Marina up the lake. Last year on this date, the lake was 33 feet higher, and two years ago, it was about 10 feet higher than today. The lake hasn't been this low on this date since 2007, but over the past 10 years, the current lake level for this date is maybe a bit above the average during that time.

The lake is currently dropping at about 2 inches per day--a little high, but not too unusual for August (this year is most similar to what happened in 2003). That means by September 3, I'd guess it will drop another 4 feet from today, putting the lake at 3,622--or 10 feet above the safe navigation of the Castle Rock Cut. The last summer that the Cut was impassable was 2007. If we have another low snowfall winter, my guess is that the Cut will again be impassable next year. But if the snowfall in the Rockies is average or better, we should at least hold steady--depending on how much water needs to be released to Lake Mead during the spring. We'll have to wait and see...

To put all this into a practical perspective, the lowest I have seen the lake in early September was in 2004, when it was down around 3,570, or about 55 feet lower than today. Boats still operated just fine then, although if the lake dropped just a bit more to about 3,520, then Wahweap Marina has the potential of being cut off from the rest of the lake, (Castle Rock Cut would be closed, and the main entrance to Wahweap Bay has the potential to be too narrow and shallow--no doubt dredging and excavation would be the next step). But that won't happen this year or next, though something to be aware of in a prolonged drought cycle...

And just FYI, below 3,477...the dam would cease to be able to generate power...a concept known as "dead pool"... the closest it's come to that since 1964 (as the lake was still filling) was in April 2005, when it bottomed out at 3,555...nearly 150 feet down, and just 78 feet above dead pool... so this is a real possibility sometime in the future if snowpack remains low for several seasons...

Edited: 6:41 pm, August 13, 2012
3. Re: Water level

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