Snowpack/Lake Mead news

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From The Arizona Republic (Shaun McKinnon):

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says it now expects runoff from the winter snowpack to raise water levels at Lake Mead later this year, easing drought conditions at the giant reservoir, which last fall sank to its lowest level since 1937. The lake has already risen 5 feet since Dec. 1, after a series of storms drenched southern Utah and southern Nevada. Snowpack in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains is 133 percent of average overall, with some locations reporting amounts 200 percent of average…

In its January water-supply forecast, the bureau says there is now a 76 percent chance that runoff from the snow will allow the agency to release extra water from Lake Powell downstream into Lake Mead, a procedure designed to better balance the contents of the two reservoirs. The extra water, an estimated 3.13 million acre-feet, would raise the lake’s level 30 feet above the first drought trigger. The water won’t erase the effects of a decade of dry conditions – Lake Mead has dropped more than 130 feet since 1999 – but it could be just enough to protect water users from rationing. More significantly, it would give Arizona and Nevada, the states that would be hardest hit by rationing, a chance to better prepare.

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