Rio Grande River basin: Revised runoff numbers trigger 22% and 46% curtailments on the Rio Grande and Conejos rivers repectively


From The Pueblo Chieftain (Matt Hildner):

The adjustment, which came in part because of a high-elevation snowpack that eluded runoff forecasts, means irrigation ditches on the Rio Grande and Conejos rivers will face increased curtailments. Between now and October, the state will have to send 24,000 acre-feet downstream on the Rio Grande and another 17,000 acre-feet will have to come from the Conejos, Division Engineer Craig Cotten said Tuesday. Irrigation ditches on the Rio Grande will face a 22 percent curtailment, a 16 percent increase from June 1. Ditches on the Conejos will have a 46 percent curtailment, up from 13 percent June 1.

This year differed from the prior two runoff seasons when stream flows fell sharply after peak runoff occurred. “It started dropping at about the time that we anticipated it dropping but it didn’t drop nearly as fast,” Cotten said…

While this year’s runoff remained below average, water managers were expecting even less water in the stream system and a smaller compact requirement. State water officials typically base their runoff on a number of factors, including the 10 snow gauges the Natural Resources Conservation Service has set up in the mountains above the Conejos and Rio Grande. This year’s snowpack included heavy pockets at elevations above those gauges, Cotten said.

More Rio Grande River basin coverage here.

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