Weekly Climate, Water and Drought Assessment of the Upper Colorado River Basin #CODrought #CORiver


Click here for the summaries from yesterday’s webinar from the Colorado Climate Center. Click on the thumbnail graphic for the precipitation summary for November, so far.

Meanwhile, Bruce Willoughby (The Denver Post), has inked a report on some of the ramifications for Lake Mead and Lake Powell after 7 months of drought in the Upper Colorado River Basin. Here’s an excerpt:

It’s no secret that precipitation in the Upper Colorado River Basin has been well below average this year, and the data from the seven drought months leading up to October offer continued cause for concern. Six of those months have seen significantly diminished precipitation in the basin, falling as low as 10 percent of average upstream of Grand Junction in June. Only July, at 160 percent upstream of Grand Junction and 130 percent above Utah’s Lake Powell, saw above-average precipitation. Four of those months saw precipitation 55 percent of average or less.

The ramifications aren’t limited to Colorado. Total inflow into Lake Powell in September was just 100,000 acre feet, 25 percent of average, and 104,000 acre feet in August.

“These are the two lowest months on record for inflow into Lake Powell. That tells you how dry things are,” CRD general manager Eric Kuhn said at the district’s October board meeting. “Even if we have a moderately dry winter, things will be pretty bad. If we have average precipitation in the next two years, Lake Mead levels will be approaching the first shortage trigger in 2014.”

The Colorado River Basin Study to be released later this month by the seven river basin states and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation predicts a potential shortfall of as much as 2 million acre-feet between water supply and water demand in the coming decades. That news has spurred a call for action.

“The question is, a call for what action?” Kuhn said.

More Colorado River Basin coverage here.

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