Snowpack news: Runoff starting early?

A picture named snowpackcolorado04162010.jpg

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

“The runoff started Friday (April 9) and some sites are melting off,” said Roy Vaughan, manager of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project for the Bureau of Reclamation…

Runoff has occurred earlier than historic records indicate for the past decade, and sometimes in an unusual way. Last year, there were three distinct runoffs through mid-June. The patterns — or lack of them — have required Reclamation to stay on top of imports into the Arkansas River basin from the Western Slope. “Our guys are setting up the system and should be ready to start sending water through the (Boustead) Tunnel shortly,” Vaughan said…

“There was a drastic warm-up in the Wet Mountain Valley, and the flow on Grape Creek went from 20 cubic feet per second to 700 cfs overnight,” said Steve Witte, Water Division 2 engineer…

…this year’s weather patterns look like other years where Reclamation has brought over an average amount of water — between 50,000 and 55,000 acre-feet — so there should be ample water to bring over. There is plenty of space to store the water in Turquoise and Twin Lakes as water was moved to Lake Pueblo over the winter months, Vaughan said. Reclamation was granted a waiver Thursday by the Army Corps of Engineers to continue storing water in Lake Pueblo because snowpack is below average. The waiver allows for storage of up to 10,000 acre-feet in the portion of the reservoir normally reserved for flood control after April 15. The move allowed storage of more than 6,400 acre-feet that otherwise would have been evacuated, Vaughan said. By May 1, as more water is stored, used and evaporates, the current level in Lake Pueblo, 263,000 acre-feet should drop by about 10,000 acre-feet.

Leave a Reply