Drought news: ‘The monsoons have taken the edge off the drought in Western Colorado’ — Nolan Doesken

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

“The monsoons have taken the edge off the drought in Western Colorado. . . . The Eastern Plains have been baking,” said Nolan Doesken, state climatologist, during a workshop on drought and its impacts Wednesday at the Colorado Water Congress summer convention. Statewide impacts have been severe. Plants have been stressed, requiring more water when less is available. Higher water temperatures and debris flows from burn areas are killing fish. Farmers are losing crops. Cities have increased water-treatment challenges because of fire damage in watersheds.

Monsoon rains in the mountains have provided more water, but the water supply is far behind average in every basin in the state, even those that received record precipitation last year, Doesken said. “We usually don’t look at July as the month that’s going to save our water, but it has helped,” Doesken said…

The state is on the highest level of alert for agricultural drought, said Taryn Hutchins-Cabibi of the Colorado Water Conservation Board.

From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Bobby Magill):

Horsetooth Reservoir’s pool elevation sat at 5,381.4 feet on Wednesday, a level the lake normally doesn’t dip to until October.

The last time the reservoir reached this level by the middle of August because of weather and water use was on Aug. 11, 1989. It reached such low levels later in August three other times: Aug. 20, 1981; Aug. 25, 1994; and Aug. 28, 2006, said Bureau of Reclamation spokeswoman Kara Lamb…

Carter Lake west of Loveland has dropped to 57 percent full.

Werner said plenty of water is available in the Colorado-Big Thompson Project system — the source of much of Fort Collins’ drinking water. Water can be piped over the Continental Divide from Lake Granby if Horsetooth Reservoir continues to be drawn down, Werner said. Lake Granby was 70 percent full Wednesday. Lake Estes in Estes Park is 82 percent full.

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