Snowpack news: Statewide snowpack = 104% of average #COdrought

Mage at the Natural Resources Conservation Service has been busy this morning. Click on the thumbnail to checkout the snowpack in your favorite major basin(s).

USGS Water Resources Internet Tools for your state

Drought news: Parts of eastern Colorado near Kiowa County removed from extreme drought category #COdrought

US Drought Monitor for December 31, 2013
US Drought Monitor for December 31, 2013

Click here to go to the US Drought Monitor website. Here’s an excerpt:

The Rockies Westward to The Pacific Coast
A reassessment of conditions prompted the removal of extreme drought from near Kiowa County in Colorado. Recent conditions have been dry, but a wet period from Mid-July to Mid-October has mitigated the impacts, do the area is now designated at D2 (severe drought), more consistent with impacts reported by local extension agents.

Dry conditions have persisted across California and Oregon, so D1 (moderate drought) was expanded across much of western Oregon and D2 (severe drought) was expanded across much of northern California. According to the California Department of Water Resources, Lake Shasta is currently at just 58 percent of average for this time of year (37 percent of capacity).

Looking Ahead
During Jan 1 – 5, moderate precipitation (up to 1.8 inches locally) is forecast across the Gulf coast with lighter amounts through the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys. Snowfall is also likely across the Great Lakes and Northeast. Elsewhere, light precipitation at most is forecast for the remainder of the contiguous 48 states.

For the ensuing 5 days (Jan 6-10), the odds favor above-median precipitation from the northern Rockies to the central and southern Great Plains, as well as the Great Lakes and Northeast. Dry conditions are favored across the southwest and eastern Alaska. A storm track into western Alaska should result in above-median precipitation.

Weekly Climate, Water and Drought Assessment of the Upper #ColoradoRiver Basin

Upper Colorado River Basin month to date precipitation through December 29, 2013 via the Colorado Climate Center
Upper Colorado River Basin month to date precipitation through December 29, 2013 via the Colorado Climate Center

Click here to read the most current summary.

More Colorado River Basin coverage here and here.

2014 Colorado legislation: State legislators hope to pass bill to curb turf in residential landscapes #COleg

Xeriscape landscape
Xeriscape landscape

From The Durango Herald (Joe Hanel):

Two Southwest Colorado lawmakers want to make new suburban lawns a bit smaller as a way to prevent cities from siphoning away farm and ranch water. The idea highlights the list of bills local legislators will propose when the Legislature’s 2014 session begins Jan. 8.

State Sen. Ellen Roberts, R-Durango, got the lawn idea from local water engineer Steve Harris and worked on it with Bruce Whitehead, whom she defeated in the 2010 Senate race. It would require new subdivisions that intend to buy farm water rights to make sure no more than 15 percent of their lots are covered with grass lawns.

It’s a good first step, Roberts said, in “recognizing that Colorado is a high-altitude desert.”

She will sponsor the bill with Rep. Don Coram, R-Montrose, and two Democrats, Rep. Ed Vigil of the San Luis Valley and Sen. Mary Hodge of Brighton.

They can expect powerful opposition from local governments and home builders.

More 2014 Colorado legislation coverage here.