From the National Weather Service Grand Junction office:
An approaching Pacific storm system currently moving onto the northern CA coast will impact the area today through Tuesday evening. Expect valley rain showers and high mountain snow showers with this system. Isolated to scattered thunderstorms with gusty winds and dangerous lightning are also possible this afternoon/evening and again on Tuesday. Snow levels will be high with this mild system, somewhere around 9000 ft today and dropping to 7000 to 8000 feet late tonight into Tuesday. Moderate snow accumulations of 3-6 inches will be possible for the higher peaks. Temperatures will be mild today then cooler on Tuesday, with readings closer to normal, before warming back up to above normal readings Wednesday through the end of the week as a ridge of high pressure builds back in.
The Colorado River Basin, a major source for Denver Water, shows 73 percent of average snowpack, and the South Platte Basin, from which Denver Water also draws, shows 59 percent of average…
Denver Water is looking to conserve 50,000 acre-feet of water, or 16 billion gallons, which amounts to about 20 percent of normal usage, by next spring, according to Lochhead…
Some cities have followed suit already, such as Fort Collins Utility announcing its water restrictions with an April 1 start date. The city, one of the Northern Colorado Water Conservation District’s biggest metro customers that relies on Colorado-Big Thompson Project water, restricts lawn watering to two days per week, but according to its website, “lawn watering exceptions may be granted through permits … for new seed and sod, properties over 4 acres, medical hardships and religious objections.”
As of this week, the city of Boulder, another major Northern customer, had not yet implemented restrictions, according to Mike Banuelos, spokesperson for Boulder Public Works. Boulder may not consider restrictions until May 1 when the snowiest months are over. “Boulder really does have a different water portfolio than other cities in the metro area,” Banuelos said, meaning a mixture of water rights and Northern reservoir water, “our situation isn’t as dire as other cities.”[…]
According to the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Thorton, Colorado Springs and Aurora have also announced outdoor watering restrictions along with Denver and Fort Collins. As a water wholesaler, Northern, unlike Denver water utility, cannot mandate watering restrictions for Front Range metro customers, according to Northern spokesperson Brian Werner. Northern supplies water to 33 cities and towns on the Front Range…
Drought conditions are expected to be similar to that of 2002.
Anticipating yet another dry spring, officials in Mountain Village announced last week that the town will place restrictions on landscape irrigation, effective April 1. The restrictions come on the heels of reports from the Colorado Water Availability Task Force that southwestern Colorado may experience drought conditions this spring and summer. “The town is being proactive in initiating this year’s restrictions beginning in April,” said Mountain Village’s Public Works Director Finn Kjome, “in an attempt to conserve water from the start of the irrigation season, rather than waiting until June when we could potentially be in a more sensitive drought situation.”[…]
This summer’s schedule will be the same as last year’s, with Mountain Village, Ski Ranches, Elk Run and Skyfield residents on three-day weekly waterings, with watering times reduced by at least 25 percent. Conservation brings results, Kjome said; despite last year’s late start, irrigation restrictions realized an 11 percent savings over Mountain Village’s five-year summer water-consumption average…
Because the town’s municipal water is drawn completely from wells, Kjome explained, from the Prospect and Skunk Creek drainage areas, as well as from a few wells along the San Miguel River, in Telluride, it is dependent on underground aquifers, with hard-to-measure water levels. “We can’t see where the water levels are,” Kjome explained, “so we want to start conserving now, since we don’t know what’s going on underground.”[…]
According to Telluride Ski Resort snow reports, February had 72 inches of snow – 155 percent of the 37-year average, and January and December had slightly above-average snowfall. But the November 2012 snowfall was just 12 inches – one-third of that month’s 36-inch average. And March, to date, has seen just 29 inches of snow, a level well below its historic 50-inch average.
The Arkansas River Basin Water Forum will be April 25-26 at the Huerfano Community Center, 928 Russell Ave., Walsenburg. The forum seeks to promote open dialogue among water users and the general public, creating a greater understanding of Colorado water law, beneficial water use and principles of water conservation. The forum targets agricultural, municipal, industrial, environmental, recreational and governmental interests.
Registration is $50, including meals for the two-day event. For more information, call Perry Cabot at 545-1845.
Note: The website and Mr. Woodka’s article disagree about the dates of the forum.