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25 years after near-catastrophe, engineers are watching the Colorado River again

Growing demand for water and the effects of drought have raised the question of whether Lake Powell will ever reach its full capacity again, but an unusually snowy winter and a wet spring this year have pushed water levels higher. And though they're nowhere near 1983 levels, scientists, engineers and Reclamation officials are once again talking about "what-if" scenarios, particularly as climate change triggers extreme, unpredictable shifts in weather patterns. A new report from the Colorado River Research Group, a consortium of scientists dedicated to providing "an independent, scientific voice" about the future of the river, notes that while much of the focus of the last two decades has been on drought, "[p]erhaps less appreciated are the risks of catastrophic flooding in the basin."