This image photographed by an Expedition 31 crew member on the International Space Station, highlights part of Lake Powell, which extends across southeastern Utah and northeastern Arizona. The serpentine water surface of the reservoir-highlighted by gray regions of sunglint-follows the incised course of the canyon.
Lake Powell started filling in 1963 when the Glen Canyon Dam was completed along the Colorado River in Arizona, and the canyon was flooded.
Lake Powell is part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which extends for more than 300 kilometers (186 miles) along the shoreline and side canyons. The primary intended use of Lake Powell’s water is support for agriculture, with a small portion allocated to urban use in Arizona, Nevada, and California.
The reservoir did not reach its maximum capacity of 27 million acre-feet until 1980. More recently, extended drought conditions in the southwestern United States have resulted in a significant lowering of the lake water level and the emergence of formerly submerged parts of Glen Canyon. Should average precipitation in the Colorado River watershed decrease (as predicted by regional climate change models), that could result in further lowering of Lake Powell and changes to the water management plans.