Update: Down in the comments Tim Hodge reminds me that it’s pretty easy to check the gage height at Lake Mead and the 73% does not agree with Bureau of Reclamation information. He adds, “Still it’s better than 42%.”
Here’s a report about the Colorado Water Congress’ Summer Meeting from Allen Best running in The Telluride Watch. Click through and read the whole thing for a good recap. Here’s an excerpt:
Last spring, Colorado was, to paraphrase Dickens, a tale of two states. In the San Juan Mountains, maximum snowfall depths were reached on March 30, eight days earlier than average. Peak accumulations were about 90 percent of average. North of the Gunnison River, however, the La Niña storms stayed strong – and then, in April and May, turned remarkable. The Gunnison River itself had flows 125 percent of average. But northward, at Crested Butte, Aspen and Vail, the spring storms were unyielding. Colorado’s most remarkable story was in the Steamboat Springs region. At Buffalo Pass, eight miles from downtown Steamboat, the snow this year surpassed the tops of the 18-foot poles assembled to measure it…
This huge water year in Colorado – rivaled during recent decades only in 1995 and 1984 – had profound consequences for the big reservoirs downstream to which the Uncompaghre, San Miguel and other rivers ultimately deliver their water. Lake Powell had risen 24 feet as of late August as compared to last year. Lake Mead, near Las Vegas, was at 73 percent of capacity once again.
How very different from last December when Mead was at 42 percent of capacity, the lowest level since 1937, soon after completion of Hoover Dam.
More Colorado River basin coverage here.