Rio Grande Roundtable recap: Runoff was up and down for the water year, mostly down


From the Valley Courier (Ruth Heide):

Colorado Division of Water Resources Division Engineer for Division III Craig Cotten described the roller coaster ride to members of the basin-wide water group, the Rio Grande Roundtable, on Tuesday. “It was kind of a strange year, way below average, above average and then way below average again,” he said…

The annual index supply forecast for the Rio Grande at Del Norte varied up and down, with the latest preliminary annual flow sitting at 505,000 acre feet, quite a bit less than the average 650,000 acre feet, according to Cotten. Of that amount, the Rio Grande will have to supply 128,700 acre feet to downstream states to satisfy Rio Grande Compact obligations. Curtailment of irrigators on the Rio Grande is about 10 percent currently. Cotten said since ditches are not running in the wintertime, curtailment at that time was 100 percent, and when the ditches on the Rio Grande system began diversions on March 28, curtailments were 7 percent, dropping to 6 percent, then back up to 10 percent, 14 percent, 17 percent, 19 percent and a high of 22 percent, as predictions changed with varying runoff flows…

The Conejos had below average flows through half of June. “They were significantly below average, especially during the first part of May, way lower than what we usually have,” Cotten said. Then the Conejos system picked up to above average flows, which remained above average. The annual forecast on the Conejos River system is 245,000 acre feet, which is lower than the average 325,000-350,000 acre feet, according to Cotten. Of that total, the Conejos owes 72,000 acre feet to downstream states to complete its Rio Grande Compact obligation. To meet that compact obligation, irrigators are experiencing a 40-percent curtailment right now on the Conejos, Cotten said.

More Rio Grande River basin coverage here.

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