Snowpack news: 100% quota from Northern?

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From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Kevin Duggan): “The overall water-content level of snow in the high country feeding the upper Colorado River was above average as of April 1, said Karen Rademacher, senior water resources engineer with the Northern Colorado Water Conser-vancy District. The farther west in the Colorado’s drainage basin, the more snow there is, she said. ‘Our neck of the woods in the far eastern edge of the basin is not quite as good, but no complaints,’ she said.

“The water level in snowpack that feeds the Poudre River was about average, Rademacher said, and likely improved with the storms that hit the state during the last couple of weeks. More storms are forecast for the coming week. Flows on the Poudre River and other tributaries to the South Platte River are forecast to be somewhat below average this year, she said. Flows on the Poudre are expected to be about 86 percent of average.

From the Greeley Tribune (Bill Jackson): “Reservoirs on the eastern plains are full, which eases some concerns, said Dave Nettles, assistant engineer with the Colorado Division of Water Resources office in Greeley. Those closer to the Front Range, including Barr Lake, Lake Loveland and Fossil Creek, are about 75 percent full, he said, adding the late March and early April snowstorms helped the situation.

“The board of directors of the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District will set this year’s quota from the Colorado-Big Thompson Project at its Friday meeting. If discussions of Wednesday’s meeting in Fort Collins are any indication, the board is going to have a reservoir full of suggestions and information. Some of that information is good, some of it isn’t so good. Spring moisture also will play a part in determining the quota for the Colorado-Big Thompson, which is a supplemental water supply for eight counties in northern and northeast Colorado, said Eric Wilkinson, Northern’s general manager. ‘Spring rains are almost as important as the snowpack. A 1-inch rain on irrigated land in the spring is equal to 60,000 acre-feet of water, or about 20 percent of the C-BT quota,’ Wilkinson said.”

From the Northern Colorado Business Report: “As of April 1, snowpack in the high country and expected stream flows for Northern Colorado are giving some cause for optimism with content in the Poudre River watershed at 100 percent of average and the Big Thompson watershed at 98 percent of average…

“While snowpack looks good, a lack of moisture in Northern Colorado through the fall and winter still has some concerned. Projections of stream flows for the April-through-July period indicate the Poudre River will be running about 86 percent of average while the Big Thompson will run about 75 percent of average, barring precipitation during those months. The South Platte River tributaries are expected to run at about 81 percent of average during the time period…

“But Karen Rademacher, senior water resources engineer with the water district, said things are looking good for the moment and the district’s board of directors could issue a 100 percent quota to help farmers planting their spring crops. ‘A 100 percent quota is possible this year — we have the water to do that,’ Rademacher said.”

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