The July newsletter from the Colorado River District is hot off the press

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Here’s the link to the newsletter. Thanks to Jim Pokrandt for sending it along in email.

The Parker Water and Sanitation District snags the ‘Outstanding Water Laboratory’ award from AWWA — Rocky Mountain Section

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From the Parker Chronicle:

In addition to receiving highest marks in a broad spectrum of water-quality tests and analysis processes, the award was also given to the district for its fieldwork performed beyond its customer service area of about 16,000 customers. The district’s lab technicians have been called to assist other districts in Arapahoe, Douglas and Elbert counties with water-quality testing and analysis due to inadequate on-site lab capabilities or under-trained personnel. Water district winners in all categories will be recognized at the Joint Annual Conference of the American Water Works Association on Sept. 18-21 in Loveland.

More Parker coverage here.

Lake Powell news: The record Utah, Wyoming and Colorado snowpack has the reservoir sitting at 76% of capacity, despite having the hydroelectric turbines running at full bore

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From the Los Angeles Times (Bettina Boxall):

…so much snowmelt and storm runoff flowed into the river and its tributaries that for much of the summer Powell rose a foot a day. The reservoir now is 76% full, and its surface has reached the highest point in a decade, dramatically shrinking the white bathtub ring of mineral salts that had ominously marked the lake’s retreat…

This year of surprisingly bountiful snow and rain follows the driest 11-year period in more than a century of record keeping. Ancient tree ring records have shown that droughts can persist for decades in the river basin, punctuated by occasional wet spells. So no one can say if this one is really over or just taking a break. But from Wyoming to California, the seven states that depend on the 1,450-long river are letting out sighs of relief…

The low water levels let hikers into treasured parts of Glen Canyon that had been submerged since Powell began filling in the 1960s. Storms flushed out newly exposed slot canyons that were clogged with sediment accumulated over decades. Now, kayakers are paddling up them…

Less than half full now, Lake Mead is expected to keep rising for the next year and a half. “We’ve pushed off shortage for years,” said Jeffrey Kightlinger, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which imports Colorado River supplies. California has some of the most senior rights on the river, protecting it from early cuts. But the drought eliminated surplus deliveries that the state — and the MWD — long enjoyed. If next year isn’t dry, Kightlinger said, it’s possible that surplus water could be available in 2013…

“This is a great year; we needed it,” said Terry Fulp, the [Bureau of Reclamation’s] deputy regional director for the lower Colorado. “It is going to take some pressure off a lot of the system. It doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods.”

From Irish Weather Online:

The inflow from April through July turned out to be 162 percent of the long-term average. As of July 28, the surface of Lake Powell had risen to 3660.79 feet, up from 3609.7 feet on April 9. The last time Lake Powell’s reservoir elevation was at this level was in October 2001…Total flow into the lake in July was 4.33 million acre feet…The inflow was 278 percent of the monthly average and made for the second wettest July since the completion of Glen Canyon Dam in 1963. Only 1995 had a wetter July, with 4.41 million acre feet. Water releases from the dam (downstream) were approximately 24,100 cubic feet per second, near the full capacity of the power plant. By the end of July, water storage in Lake Powell was 18.60 million acre feet, or 76 percent of capacity.

Click through for the LandSat images.

From the Summit County Citizens Voice (Bob Berwyn):

The Bureau of Reclamation reported that July inflow along totaled about 4.5 million acre feet (278 percent of average), the second-best year since Glen Canyon Dam was completed in 1963. Only 1995 was wetter, with a total inflow of 4.41 million acre feet in July. Total inflows for the runoff season, April through July, reached 12.9 million acre feet, which is 162 percent of average. June inflow was even higher, totaling 5.4 million acre feet…

As of late July, the reservoir was 76 percent full, storing 18.6 million acre feet. The last time Powell was at this level was in October 2001…

Higher-than-average inflows are predicted through the rest of the summer, with a total projected inflow of 16.7 million acre feet, about 139 percent of average. That’s good news for Lake Mead, the downstream reservoir that’s critically important for Las Vegas. Lake Mead is 20 feet higher than it was last year this time, and projected to climb another 30 feet in the next 12 months with continued releases from Powell.

More Colorado River basin coverage here.