#Snowpack news: Good snow expected in mountains today and into next week

Click on a thumbnail graphic to view a gallery of snowpack data from the NRCS.

From The Durango Herald (Jim Mimiaga):

Above-average snowpack in the Dolores Basin bodes well for McPhee Reservoir, farmers and recreational boaters on the Lower Dolores River.

Snotels in the basin show snowpack at 136 percent of the average as of Jan. 18, and more storms are on their way.

According to the Colorado River Basin Forecast Center, spring runoff into the Dolores River will fill McPhee and allow for whitewater boating release below the dam.

“Snowpack has record-setting potential already. We do feel comfortable that the reservoir will fill, and irrigators will get their full amount of water,” said Ken Curtis an engineer with the Dolores Water Conservancy District.

The forecast center’s latest most probable runoff outlook shows 285,000 acre-feet inflow into McPhee to start the 2017 irrigation season. The fact that the reservoir ended last irrigation season with 143,400 acre-feet of active carryover storage, makes the situation favorable.

The potential total exceeds the benchmark of 270,000 acre-feet needed to fulfill water obligations for irrigators in Montezuma and Dolores counties, the Ute Mountain Farm and Ranch operations, local municipal needs and the downstream fish pool.

With more storms to come, managers expect to fill the lake and also provide a whitewater boating release below the dam lasting up to a month or longer, says Vern Harrell of the Bureau of Reclamation.

And here’s the Westwide basin-filled SNOTEL map from the NRCS.

Westwide SNOTEL basin-filled map January 20, 2017 via the NRCS.
Westwide SNOTEL basin-filled map January 20, 2017 via the NRCS.

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