Yesterday, the Snake River Dam gates began to gradually close, a move that will eventually reduce the Snake River flow by 90 percent over the next four days, according to an article in the Jackson Hole News & Guide. Like many rivers in the American West, 2021’s drought-stricken water year has left a concerning impact. The Snake River is facing a “near-record lack of water in the Upper Snake River System,” the article said.
As of Sept. 27, the combined storage between Palisades Reservoir and Jackson Lake was only 1% from reaching the all-time record low. The Upper Snake River watershed will need approximately 130 percent of the average snowpack in winter of 2021-2022 to refill the reservoirs according to Brian Stevens, water operations manager for the Bureau of Reclamation.
After the Snake River dam has released the water to 300 cubic feet per second by Oct. 5, Jackson Lake will continue to slowly empty.