Snowpack news

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From the Valley Courier (Ruth Heide): “[Colorado Division of Water Resources Acting Division Engineer for Division III Craig Cotten] told water groups this week that the basin is doing fairly well with snowpack although recent winds had diminished the snowpack from 101 to 97 percent in a short time. He said most of the snow measurement sites around the basin are reading 90-100 percent with the highest readings in the Conejos River area which is tallying 103-104 percent. Cotten said the Natural Resources Conservation Services forecast for the Rio Grande is 91 percent of average at this point with an approximate projected annual index of 600,000 acre feet. About 500,000 acre feet of that total for the Rio Grande is forecast to occur during the irrigation season between April and September.

“The Rio Grande will owe about 162,000 acre feet of its total flow to downstream states through the Rio Grande Compact. Although about 100,000 acre feet of that obligation comes from flows during non-irrigation months, from Closed Basin Project contributions or from carry-over credits from last year, the Rio Grande will still have to run 61,800 acre feet of water downstream during the irrigation season to meet the compact. Cotten said that would translate to about a 12-percent curtailment on irrigators on the Rio Grande to make sure the state delivers its water obligation to New Mexico and Texas…

“The annual forecast for the Conejos River systems is 330,000 acre feet, Cotten said. With the system owing 80,000 acre feet of that during the irrigation season alone, irrigators will face curtailments of about 29 percent, he added.”

From the Loveland Reporter Herald (Pamela Dickman):

On April 1, the water content in the mountain snowpack was just below 100 percent of average in the Big Thompson and Colorado River basins, according to the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District…As of April 1, the amount of water in that snow for the Big Thompson River was 98 percent of average…For the Big Thompson River, they estimate streamflow will drop to 75 percent of average for April through July. At that level, the city should be able to pull 8,000 to 9,000 acre-feet of water from the Big Thompson, [Larry Howard, senior civil engineer for city of Loveland water resources] said…The forecast from Northern Water for streamflow in the Colorado River from April through July is 95 percent.

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