Snowpack news: Snowstorms during the last part of February net Englewood seven to twelve inches of snow #codrought


From the Englewood Herald (Tom Munds):

Those who did snow dances were rewarded Feb. 21 and again Feb. 23-24 as a one-two storm punch dropped 7 to 12 inches of the white stuff on Englewood.

A low Lake Mead brings parts of St. Thomas, Nevada back into view #coriver #codrought


Here’s a Writers on the Range piece, written by Kate Shaw, that’s running in the Cortez Journal. She looks back at St. Thomas, Utah, once thought to be perpetually under the waters of Lake Mead. Here’s an excerpt:

St. Thomas lay beneath Lake Mead for much of the last 70 years, emerging occasionally when the water level dropped. This time, the town has been exposed since 2002 – the longest time since its drowning – because the reservoir has been depleted by a lengthy drought and a growing population. And Lake Mead is unlikely to reclaim St. Thomas any time soon: its surface now lies nearly 30 feet below the town’s remains. The site, now managed by the National Park Service, is frequented by tourists, historians and the occasional coyote.

Even after the town’s flooding, its previous residents still thought of the little valley as their home. Each time the water receded, they descended on the ruins to read poems and picnic in the empty lots where their homes once stood. At the 1965 reunion, Marva Perkins Sprague found her childhood doll, buried in a mud bank.

Nearly 30 years earlier, auto shop owner Hugh Lord had been the last to leave St. Thomas before it was swallowed. He had refused to believe that the floodwaters would ever reach his home. As the rising lake lapped at his front porch in the summer of 1938, he finally stepped into a boat and rowed away, surrendering to the water that had helped the town blossom, then came to claim it.

More Colorado River Basin coverage here and here.

Forecast news: Widespread snowfall for the Colorado mountains #codrought #cowx

From the NWS Grand Junction office:

Another winter storm will move through the area today and tonight, then exist to the east Monday morning. Snow Advisories are in effect beginning this afternoon and lasting until 9 am Monday. Up to a foot of snow will fall over the higher northern and central mountains, with 5 to 10 inches over the San Juans. Between 5 adn 10 inches of new snow is expected over the Flat Tops Wilderness and Grand Mesa. From 4 to 8 inches of new snow will accumulate over the Uncompahgre Plateau and Abajo/La Sal mountains. Widespread rain, with rain and snow mixed tonight, is expected over the valleys.

From the NWS Pueblo office:

High temperatures will be well above average today across the area today except for the central and southwest mountains, where snow is expected to begin later this evening. The I-25 corridor, San Luis Valley, and eastern plains will be warm, windy, and dry this afternoon.

From The Denver Post:

A winter weather advisory has been issued for the northern mountains for late Sunday through Monday, covering the the north central and northeast parts of the state. The snow and blowing snow expected to develop overnight would created slow travel conditions and reduced visibility. Snow accumulations in mountain areas could range from four to eight inches, the Weather Service says. For the start of the work week Monday in metro Denver, expect cooler temperatures with a high of 42 degrees and a 40 percent chance of snow, perhaps an additional inch.

Longmont water supply looks OK for upcoming season #codrought


From the Longmont Weekly (Brent Johnson):

Although Longmont’s water storage is down — McIntosh Lake and Union Reservoir are about half-full — the city’s Department of Public Works and Natural Resources projects the supply at 136 percent for this year and 137 percent for 2014. There is no mandatory water-use restriction planned at this time, and conservation is voluntary, but the city still encourages wise use of water to protect this valuable natural resource.

2013 Colorado legislation: Acequia bill passes house, more inclusive than 2009 bill


From The Pueblo Chieftain (Matt Hildner):

A bill that passed through the state House of Representatives in Denver this week would help preserve the communal irrigation ditches dug by Hispanic settlers when they came to parts of Southern Colorado.

The bill is the second measure from state Rep. Ed Vigil, D-Fort Garland, to address the ditches, called acequias in Spanish, but this version loosens landuse requirements for participation from the one he carried in 2009. “It’s inclusive now,” Vigil said.

The measure, which applied to pre-statehood ditches built in Conejos, Costilla, Huerfano and Las Animas counties, required that at least two-thirds of the land they irrigated remain in the long-lot style that would have existed at the time of settlement. But Vigil heard from irrigators that the requirement was too strict. While long lots, or varas as they’re known in Spanish, can still be seen in Costilla County, they’re far less common in the other counties. “That’s just not the case here in Conejos County anymore,” rancher Lawrence Gallegos said. “Today they’ve been consolidated.”

He waters pastures off of two different acequias that were built in 1855 and 1856 and draw from the San Antonio River. Gallegos, who testified in favor of the bill before the House Agricultural Committee, said he thinks his fellow members on the two ditches might be interested in taking up some of the provisions from the bill. He pointed specifically to a clause that allowed the ditch the right of first refusal regarding the sale, lease or exchange of water.

The law also incorporates elements that were historically common to acequias but did not become a part of Colorado law, such as each member of a ditch having an equal vote. The measure would also allow for ditch policy that required members to provide labor for maintenance. Vigil did not know when it would be taken up in the Senate.

More 2013 Colorado legislation coverage here.