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Desired Future Condition for Water Quality

Water quality with regards to dissolved oxygen, nutrient concentrations and cycling, turbidity, temperature, etc., is sufficient to support natural ecosystem functions, visitor safety and visitor experience to the extent feasible and consistent with the life history requirements of focal aquatic species.
• Ecosystem-sustaining nutrient distribution, flux, and cycling.
• Hydro-physical conditions and characteristics of the CRE necessary to sustain aquatic biota.
• Acceptable water quality for human health and visitor experience.



2017 Water Quality PEP

Reading List

Adaptive Management

Calcite Coprecipitation

CE-QUAL Modeling


General Lake Powell Limnology

Long-term Water Quality Trends

P Biogeochemistry

USGS Data Series, Circulars, and other Reports

Water Quality and Glen Canyon Dam Management

Water Quality and Metabolism in the Colorado River below Glen Canyon Dam

Links and Information

Water Quality Gages

Papers and presentations









Water Quality PEP Reviews

Modifying releases at Glen Canyon Dam to improve water quality in the Lees Ferry reach

Rough operation of the turbines

Increases the oxygenation of water going through the power plant Is damaging to the turbines

Oxygenation of the tailwater using the bypass tubes

The Basin States have maintained that according to Sec 602a of the Colorado River Basin Project Act (1968), the bypass tubes at Glen Canyon Dam can only be used to avoid anticipated spills from Lake Powell. The Basin States have agreed to bypass at Glen Canyon Dam for HFEs on the condition that it be done as part of an experiment and not a management action or operational decision. Costs associated with any release that bypasses the powerplant for reasons other than to avoid a spill or for experimentation relating to HFEs would have to be borne by the GCDAMP (see DOI determination for costs of the 2004 BHBF).

Adding power generation to the bypass tubes

Allows for drawing water from deeper in Lake Powell where colder and more oxygenated water may be present.

Other methods:

  • Forebay diffusers
  • Side stream super-saturation
  • Aeration
  • Turbine venting
  • Surface water pumps (impellers)

(Mobley Engineering: Hydropower Enhancement Technologies)

Other Stuff

Forebay temperature 2000-2016
Forebay dissolved oxygen 2000-2016