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There's a plan to save Page's water supply

With falling water levels in Lake Powell threatening the town's water supply, there may be a fix coming.

PAGE, Ariz. — The town of Page exists because of Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam

Or, it may be the other way around.

The housing community that would become Page was founded to build Glen Canyon Dam, which then created Lake Powell by filling up miles and miles of canyons behind it. The city continued long after the lake was created, becoming a tourist town dependent on the lake. 

"Water is the lifeblood of the Southwest," said Page Power and Water Manager Bryan Hill. 

The lifeblood of Page is in trouble.

Lake Powell reached its lowest water level in history earlier this year. It's been steadily dropping every year as it creeps toward "minimum power pool," or the lowest level the lake's water can reach and still be used to generate power.

See a nearly 40-year timelapse of Lake Powell's dry-up from Google Earth here:

RELATED: Lake Powell's drastic drop in water level shown in clear satellite images

Long before the lake reaches that point, water levels will drop below the intakes that feed the municipal water supply for Page and LeChee Chapter of the Navajo Reservation. 

About 8,000 people will lose their water supply when that happens.

“At the dramatic rate that it was dropping, it was of concern," Hill said. "Not yet, but unless something is done...we're going to be very concerned."

It's a concern that has been looming in the months since the Department of the Interior sent a letter to the Arizona Department of Water Resources explaining the situation. 

But now, there may be a solution. 

The Bureau of Reclamation told 12 News there's a plan for a workaround.

There are a series of pipes at the level called "Dead Pool", which is the lowest level the water can be and still pass through the dam. Those pipes are lower than the power plant intake, so they're still able to release water even if there's not enough to run the power plant. 

The Bureau's idea is to run a patch pipe from the Page municipal water intake to those Dead Pool pipes. That way, even if the water drops so low that the power plant stops working, residents would still be able to get water.

The Bureau of Reclamation said that project is still months away. But when it's finished it should provide Page with the water it needs to keep the city going.

RELATED: Video captures massive rockslide at Lake Powell

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