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The environment desk at Aspen Public Radio covers issues in the Roaring Fork Valley and throughout the state of Colorado including water use and quality, impact of recreation, population growth and oil and gas development. APR’s Environment Reporter is Elizabeth Stewart-Severy.

River District concerned about low levels at Lake Powell

Courtesy of Colorado River District

The Colorado River District is concerned about low water levels at Lake Powell and is starting the second year of studies meant to keep water in the reservoir.


A host of issues, including rising temperatures and growing populations, are taxing the water reserves at Lake Powell, so the Colorado River District is working on a contingency plan for the next 20 or 30 years.

“We always call Lake Powell sort of like a bank account, to always have something in reserve,” said Eric Kuhn, general manager of the Colorado River District.

The agency is working to keep the reservoir at least at a level that is nearly 200 feet below full.

“We’re not talking about it being full,” Kuhn said. “We’re talking about it being almost empty, but we don’t want it to drain.”

Local rivers and streams serve as tributaries to the Colorado, and the River District has asked representatives from the Roaring Fork Valley to sit on the committee.

The study will focus on conservation measures, reducing demand and increasing supply. Kuhn said he hopes to present to local river districts at the end of the summer.

Aspen native Elizabeth Stewart-Severy is excited to be making a return to both the Red Brick, where she attended kindergarten, and the field of journalism. She has spent her entire life playing in the mountains and rivers around Aspen, and is thrilled to be reporting about all things environmental in this special place. She attended the University of Colorado with a Boettcher Scholarship, and graduated as the top student from the School of Journalism in 2006. Her lifelong love of hockey lead to a stint working for the Colorado Avalanche, and she still plays in local leagues and coaches the Aspen Junior Hockey U-19 girls.