Drought news: Rainfall last weekend helped reduce consumption #CODrought #monsoon


From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

With rains that left anywhere between 0.6-1.25 inches of rain over Pueblo on Sunday and Monday, stressed lawns and gardens got a much-needed drink. It’s also affected the amount of water being pumped through sprinkler systems. During last week’s hot spell, with no appreciable rainfall, the Pueblo Board of Water Works pumped an average of 52 million gallons per day. With rain and cooler temperatures, the number dropped to 38 million gallons per day for the first two days of this week…

The Sunday-Monday rain roughly averaged about 0.8 inches over the approximately 30,000-acre area served by the Pueblo water board. By that standard, the clouds dumped about 650 million gallons (2,000 acre-feet) of water on the city.

Meanwhile, the drought is still with us. Here’s a report from Chad Abraham writing for the Aspen Daily News. From the article:

The [Roaring Fork] river on Thursday was running through town at 23 cubic feet per second (cfs), below the state’s recommended instream flow of 32 cfs, and well off the 115 cfs average, according to a Roaring Fork Conservancy report.

Besides the drought, the level is so low because holders of some rights are allowed to take water and drop the river below the recommended instream level, which was implemented in the 1970s by the Colorado Water Conservation Board. The holders can do that because their rights are senior to the state’s.

“It’s depressing, but senior water rights often trump instream flow rights,” said Rick Lofaro, the conservancy’s executive director.

State recommended instream flows, also called state instream water right levels, are related to preserving the environment to a reasonable degree, according to the water conservation board website. There is some debate about what is reasonable, said Tim O’Keefe, education director for the conservancy.

He said some local water rights date back to the 1880s and were related to mining; other rights are for agriculture. The city of Aspen also has a “pretty old water right,” he said…

The Roaring Fork near Aspen on Thursday hit 68 degrees, the state standard for a healthy ecosystem, O’Keefe said. Anything above that affects dissolved oxygen in the stream to the point that fish get stressed; insects are also affected. If the temperature rises to 72 degrees, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Division can shut down stretches of rivers to fishing.

From the Gunnison Times (Matt Smith):

And now those concerns have hit home, as Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) implemented this week a “voluntary” closure of Tomichi Creek. The decision follows suit with at least four other streams on the Western Slope. With water temperatures reaching the mid-70s in recent weeks, the health of trout populations in Tomichi Creek is the main reason for taking extra precaution.

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