Drought/runoff news: The current drought isn’t over by a long shot, runoff on it’s way out #COdrought

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From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Bobby Magill):

Moderate drought conditions have returned to Northern Colorado after several weeks of warm, dry weather, according to this week’s Colorado Climate Center drought update.

For the last few weeks, climatologists have classified Northern Colorado as merely “abnormally dry” because of large amounts of snow and rain in April and May.

“June for the Front Range has been pretty dry,” said meteorologist Don Day, Jr., of DayWeather in Cheyenne. “It didn’t take much for us to slip back into (drought).”

Though some areas of the Front Range have seen some rain and severe weather in recent weeks, it hasn’t accomplished much to ease drought conditions because much of the rain water has run off instead of infiltrating into the soil, according to the Colorado Climate Center report…

Poudre River flows at the Poudre Canyon mouth peaked on June 9, two days earlier than the historical average.

Colorado-Big Thompson Project reservoirs, which supply Fort Collins and more than 800,000 other Colorado residents with water, are filling, but they are far from full.

The project’s biggest reservoir, Lake Granby, was 64 percent full on Wednesday, while Horsetooth Reservoir was nearly 80 percent full.

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Pueblo boosted its water storage by about 25 percent during a brief, fast spring runoff this year. “We reached peak runoff last week,” Water Resources Manager Alan Ward told the Pueblo Board of Water Works Tuesday. “Our brief, but welcome runoff is on its way out.”

The water board’s goal this year was to replenish water supplies that dipped after a very dry 2012. While precipitation in Pueblo has been even less than last year, this year’s snowpack was heavier and lasted longer. “Runoff came later than in recent years, but mid-June is closer to normal,” Ward said.

Pueblo now has about 36,000 acre-feet in storage — more than a year’s supply — and added 7,000 acre-feet in the first two weeks of June.

While Pueblo benefits from runoff in the Arkansas River basin, it also imports water from the Colorado River, and most of the gain has been from its own ditches and tunnels that bring water across the Continental Divide, as well as the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project. Snowpack in both basins is up this year.

The Arkansas River, as measured at Wellsville just downstream from Salida, peaked on June 12 at 2,900 cubic feet per second.

The Fry-Ark Project has brought over 38,100 acre-feet for use in the Arkansas Valley this year, and is on pace to deliver an estimated 47,231 acre-feet, said Roy Vaughan, project manager for the Bureau of Reclamation.

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