LAKE POWELL, UTAH - JUNE 24: The tall bleached "bathtub ring" is visible on the rocky banks of Lake Powell at Reflection Canyon on June 24, 2021 in Lake Powell, Utah. As severe drought grips parts of the Western United States, a below average flow of water is expected to flow through the Colorado River Basin into two of its biggest reservoirs, Lake Powell and Lake Mead. Lake Powell is currently at 34.56 percent of capacity, a historic low. The lake stands at 138.91 feet below full pool and has dropped 44 feet in the past year. The Colorado River Basin supplies water to 40 million people in seven western states. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Federal water officials have announced that they will keep hundreds of billions of gallons of Colorado River water inside Lake Powell instead of letting it flow downstream to southwestern states and Mexico. U.S. Assistant Secretary of Water and Science Tanya Trujillo said Tuesday that the move would allow the Glen Canyon Dam to continue producing hydropower while officials strategize how to operate the dam with a lower water elevation. The decision will not have any immediate impacts on the amount of water allocated for the region’s cities and its farm but reflects the compounding challenges facing the region, where roughly 40 million people and a $5 billion-a-year agricultural industry rely on the Colorado River.