however, have arisen. The fluctuating water levels of the lake determined
how much water would be released from the dam each year. The rising
and lowering levels created intense downstream erosion, so an established
amount is now turned loose annually. A continuing problem occurs when
the silt-laden water of the San Juan and Colorado rivers hits the still
water of the lake, dropping its burden and filling the reservoir with
sand and soil. One government report estimates that in 400 years Lake
Powell will be one big sandbox.
Navajo Generating Station in Page creates a another problem. Started
in 1974, this coal-fired plant is capable of producing 2,250 megawatts
of power during its peak season in August. To do this, however, it must
burn 1,000 tons of coal per hour--coal that is shipped by electric train
from Black Mesa, seventy miles away. Las Vegas, Tucson, and Los Angeles get the power they demand, but the nitrogen oxides and other gas emissions
from the plant create an unsightly brown haze that hangs over Page and
its environs and reduces visibility in the Grand Canyon. Thus, one of
the biggest issues facing Lake Powell today is how to preserve the quality
of experience to be enjoyed by generations to come.
Philip L. Fradkin, A River No More (1984); Karl W. Luckert, Navajo Mountain
and Rainbow Bridge Religion (1977); Dean F. Peterson and A. Berry Crawford,
Values and Choices in the Development of the Colorado River Basin (1978).