Runoff/snowpack news

Dillon Reservoir via the Summit County Citizens Voice
Dillon Reservoir via the Summit County Citizens Voice

From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

Warmer weather is bringing down that high elevation snow pack. [June 30], Denver Water upped releases from Dillon Reservoir. [July 1], we are increasing releases from Green Mountain to the Lower Blue in two changes of 100 cfs each. At 9:00 this morning, releases will go up to 1200 cfs. At 10:00 a.m., releases will go up to 1300 cfs.

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Despite only two days with temperatures over the century mark, June was hotter and drier than usual. Monday’s high temperature of 103 tied the record for the last day of June, following a 100-degree reading on Sunday. Yet water use is down in Pueblo and the surrounding area.

“We’re unusually low,” said David Simpson, manager of the St. Charles Mesa Water District. “We really haven’t peaked at all.”

The district east of Pueblo usually sees use of 5.5 million gallons per day during hot spells, but so far has not gone above 4.5 mgd.

The Pueblo Board of Water Works is about 12 percent behind last year in pumping for the month of June, said Seth Clayton, director of administrative services.

“The city is using less in the parks,” Clayton said.

The city’s water use has averaged about 39 mgd, compared with 44 mgd last year in June. Peak use came June 20, at 46 mgd, while a year ago, the peak hit nearly 50 mgd.

“I think it’s been a little more humid, if you can ever say it’s humid in Pueblo,” Clayton said. “I think the afternoon cloud cover has helped things.”

Pueblo West has seen about 93 percent of 2013 water use so far this year. June watering was down 10 percent from 2013 and 13 percent from 2012, said Jack Johnston, metro district manager.

“We’ve hit a peak of 9 million gallons per day so far, and expect to hit 10 million in the next few days,” Johnston said. Consumers in all three areas are tending to use less water since the severe drought of 2001-03.

“We have never come back to the usage we saw prior to 2002,” Simpson said. “People have started using water more wisely.”

In Pueblo, the trend has been the same, with reduced water use in similar weather conditions for the past 12 years. One problem with selling less water is that it hurts revenues for water providers. Outdoor water use accounts for about half of all water sales.

“A lot of ours is reduced consumption by the city of Pueblo, which is not paid for anyway,” Clayton said. “On the revenue side, we’ll make up for it in other areas.”

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