Drought/snowpack news: Statewide snowpack = 62% of avg, Upper Colorado = 59% #codrought #coriver #southplatte




The January 15, 2013 U.S. Drought Monitor map shows D2 drought from Metro Denver north the the Wyoming border. That is a change from D1 for that area. The drought monitor folks also extended D3 up the Roaring Fork River watershed and up the Eagle River watershed.

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Imagine back­-to-­back years as dry as 2002.

That’s one scenario taking shape for the Arkansas Valley, and it was discussed at length Thursday by the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District board. “Those who expect to see water in the Arkansas River during the spring and summer will not see that water. This is not an average year. It is an abnormal year,” Executive Director Jim Broderick said.

Normally, the Bureau of Reclamation would be moving water from Turquoise and Twin Lakes to Lake Pueblo in order to make room for imports from the Hunter Creek­Fryingpan River drainages in the Upper Colorado River basin.

But because 2012 was so dry, that space already is available. Turquoise Lake is at 50 percent and Twin Lakes at 80 percent of average. On top of that, snowpack is just 43 percent of average in the Western Slope drainages which provide transmountain flows.

In the Arkansas River basin, winter water storage is 43 percent of average, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service reports water supply is 68 percent of average and not likely to improve in the next few months.

Soil moisture is low, and the amount of water measured at the Avondale gauge on the Arkansas River is showing a 1.5 million acre-­foot deficit since 2000, David Mau of the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

“I guess the good news is that there is very little chance that winter water will spill,” Division Engineer Steve Witte said, attempting to lighten the grim mood in the room.