Runoff news: Some melt over the weekend but cooler temperatures forecast this week will help delay the runoff

A picture named snowpackarkansasbasin05092011

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

For the first time this year, water began flowing through the Boustead Tunnel at Turquoise Lake, where the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project brings water into the Arkansas River basin. “What I’m thinking is that the longer runoff waits to begin, the higher the temperatures will be,” said Roy Vaughan, manager of the Fry-Ark Project for the Bureau of Reclamation. “It’s looking a lot like 2008.” The faster runoff would make it more difficult to capture the projected 94,200 acre-feet of water that could be brought over this year, Vaughan explained. In 2008, the yield from a near-record snowpack was diminished by about 10 percent because of the way it melted.

On Sunday and Monday, the Boustead Tunnel was running about 50 cubic feet per second, or 100 acre-feet per day. The tunnel can run 945 cfs, or almost 1,900 acre-feet daily once snow begins to melt…

Imports from other sources also could be limited by space in reservoirs. There is a healthy snowpack, about 130-150 percent in the Leadville area…

Accounts at Twin Lakes, primarily owned by Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Pueblo West and Aurora, are likely to be topped off. The Homestake Project, a joint venture between Aurora and Colorado Springs, and the Busk-Ivanhoe Project, jointly operated by Pueblo and Aurora, are likely to leave some of their water on the Western Slope because there aren’t many places to put it. Municipal storage accounts are fuller than they have been for years. A two-week extension for storage in the flood-control pool at Lake Pueblo helped in late April, but the level at the lake has been drawn down by agricultural demand in the dry Arkansas Valley in the last two weeks…

Meanwhile, Reclamation has been drawing down Turquoise Lake in anticipation of Fry-Ark imports, making space for 82,000 acre-feet of water. The water also is being moved early to avoid high flows on Lake Creek — which can leach heavy metals into the river — later in the year…

Farmers in the Lower Arkansas Valley are hoping for all the transmountain water they can get, as drought conditions continue. Because cities need less than their full share of Fry-Ark water, about 60,000 acre-feet should be available for use later in the season by valley farmers. The entire eastern part of the state continues to be listed under severe drought, with extreme drought conditions creeping into the southeastern corner of the state near Springfield.

From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Dennis Webb):

There’s currently more than a 50 percent chance of the Colorado River flooding at Cameo, and flooding is all but a certainty on part of the Yampa River, the Colorado River Basin Forecast Center says. The upside is that runoff into Lake Powell is predicted to be 139 percent of average, possibly meaning even more inflow into that reservoir than during the big runoff years of 1995 and 1997, said Eric Kuhn, general manager of the Colorado River Water Conservation District…

The forecast center is predicting a 90 percent chance of the Yampa River reaching an average daily flow of 23,000 cubic feet per second, which is above flood stage, at Deerlodge Park in Moffat County, and odds are 50-50 that the flow could reach 28,000 cfs. It says flooding likewise is all but a certainty on the Green River at Jensen, Utah…

The forecast center says there’s a 50 percent chance of the Colorado River at Cameo topping out at an average daily flow of 28,000 cubic feet per second, and a 75 percent chance of it reaching 24,000 cfs. Flood flow at Cameo is 25,350 cfs. The average annual peak daily flow there is 17,500 cfs.

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