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Center Applauds New Study to Measure Powell Evaporation


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The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the Desert Research Institute have teamed up to study evaporation at Lake Powell, one of the key recommendations form the Center's Fill Mead First Report. (Photo by Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune)

Project builds on ongoing research at Lake Mead

April 10, 2019. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the Desert Research Institute are working to better understand evaporation rates at Lake Powell, one of the key recommendations from the 2016 Fill Mead First report from the Center for Colorado River Studies.

“There are no recent state-of-the-science measurements at Lake Powell. Accessing this information is vital to informed public policy discussions,” said Jack Schmidt, director of the Center for Colorado River Studies, and author of the Fill Mead First report. Current estimates of water losses from evaporation are not considered representative of the actual amounts, making it difficult for anyone to make informed decisions.

Researchers deployed floating platforms with remote sensors to measure water temperature, weather conditions and other variables. Over the next two to three years, they will collect date to produce more accurate evaporation estimates that can be extrapolated to other sites on the lake.

“We are pleased to hear of this research, as a better understanding of evaporation losses at Lake Powel will give policy-makers access to more accurate information about  evaporation and ground-water storage,” said Schmidt. “We commend this effort and look forward to seeing the results.”

For more information contact:

Lael Gilbert
Outreach Coordinator
Center for Colorado River Studies
(435) 797-8455