Community News

News Release: Reclamation urges public to exercise caution below Glen Canyon Dam due to potential for rapid fluctuations in river releases

July 28, 2020

 PAGE, Ariz. – The Bureau of Reclamation urges those recreating on or along the Colorado River through Glen and Grand canyons to exercise increased caution as possible sudden fluctuations in water releases to meet summer energy demands may cause rapid changes to the river’s flow. The National Park Service, which manages both Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Grand Canyon National Park, advises those recreating along the river—including river runners, anglers, campers and hikers—to be vigilant and exercise increased caution through the summer months. Unscheduled water release changes may occur without notice.

 Vessels should be secured to withstand potential changes in water levels and campers should avoid setting camp where a sudden river rise could reach tents or other camping supplies. The Western Area Power Administration has alerted Reclamation to an increased possibility that Glen Canyon Dam’s power plant will need to augment power supplies in the event of a potential power system emergency. Glen Canyon Dam operations remain flexible, as described in the 2017 Operating Criteria for Glen Canyon Dam, to adjust for power system emergencies when existing power generation resources cannot meet electricity demands. Increased releases might be very short, one or two hours, or could last longer.

If emergency generation is needed, fluctuations will be more noticeable on weekends, since current weekend flows are low and steady to support the ongoing Bug Flow experiment downstream of Glen Canyon Dam. Emergency power generation releases will take priority over Bug Flow experimental releases. Hydropower is unique in its ability to respond almost immediately to changes in energy demand, and fluctuating water releases to meet that demand are common. As a critical piece of water and power infrastructure for the western United States, Glen Canyon Dam provides reliable energy and operates up to its maximum power plant capacity in response to regional power concerns. Please check our website for further updated and current status here: