What are the similarities between 2002 and this water year? Here’s a report from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:
“The difference between this year and 2002 is that we have a huge snowpack,” said Alan Ward, water resources administration for the Pueblo water board. “Going into 2002, there was a triple whammy: no snow in the mountains, a dry spring and no rain that summer.”[…]
Precipitation is actually looking better this year, so far. By April 8, 2002, Pueblo had received only 0.54 inches of moisture in 2002, compared with 1.54 inches so far this year. That’s about 85 percent of average for early April. Pueblo officially had only 3.94 inches of precipitation in 2002, the driest year on record and about one-fourth of average.
In April 2002, statewide snowpack was 52 percent of normal, while reservoir storage was 55 percent of average. This year, Colorado snowpack is about 110 percent of average and reservoir storage is right at average.
The 2002 drought actually was the third year of a statewide drought that primarily affected the Colorado River basin, while the effect was masked by wet summers in the Arkansas Valley. Colorado has had average-to-wet years in the four years prior to 2011.