Drought news: Northern Colorado used much of their stored water this summer, snow dances are in order


From Windsor Now! (Eric Brown):

Because 2012 brought record-low amounts of precipitation, farmers and residents depended heavily on stored water from reservoirs this year. And now — seeing how low reservoir water levels are — water providers in the region say at least average snowfall will be needed during the upcoming months.

Another dry winter, like the one Colorado had this year, would spell trouble for the next growing season, they say. “The reservoirs this year certainly served their basic purpose: They filled up during wet years, and then helped us get through a dry year,” said Jon Monson, director of the Greeley Water and Sewer Board. “But if we don’t get some good snows this winter to refill those reservoirs, we could be in a tight spot next year…

Heading into this month, the estimated amount of water in the Greeley-Loveland System — which consists of three reservoirs and is one of Greeley’s primary water sources, supplying anywhere from 30-50 percent of the city’s demand — was less than half of what it was just a year earlier, having dropped from about 57,000 total acre feet down to about 25,000 acre feet. It was the system’s biggest one-year decrease during at least the past 25 years…

The city of Greeley gets about 25 percent of its water from direct flows in the Poudre River, but that supply had to be shut down earlier this summer, because ash and debris from wildfires were dumping into the river. Not being able to use those direct flows forced the city to even more so deplete its reservoirs this summer…

Like Monson, Andy Pineda, the water resources department manager at the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District in Berthoud, which oversees operations and deliveries of the C-BT Project, said the region doesn’t need record snowfall like that of 2011 to meet the needs of next year’s growing season. Just an average snow year would do the trick.

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