#Snowpack/#Runoff news

Westwide SNOTEL basin-filled map March 27, 2018 via the NRCS.

From Steamboat Today (Tom Ross):

The Natural Resources Conservation Service, which monitors the moisture stored in the snow at remote measuring sites across the mountainous West, reported Tuesday that the 69 inches of standing snow at a measuring site at 9,400 feet elevation on the west side of Rabbit Ears Pass contained 16.3 inches of water, representing 69 percent of the median snowpack — water content of the snow — measurement for the date.

As of March 6, snow survey supervisor Brian Domonkos said it would take 200 percent of normal snowfall through the end of April to make up Colorado’s deficit in snow moisture…

The die is set, and Colorado will see below-average streamflows this summer.

The Conservation Service also reports that in South Routt County, on the headwaters of the Yampa River at the Bear River measuring site, the snow wasn’t nearly as deep as on Rabbit Ears, but the 9.6 inches of water stored in the 33 inches of snow was 103 percent of median.

In North Routt, there is a significant gap between two snow-measuring sites just a few miles apart on opposite sides of the Continental Divide.

At the Lost Dog site, at 9,320 feet, on the west side of the Continental Divide, the 73 inches of snow on the ground contained 52 percent of median snowpack. At the Zirkel measuring site at 9,340 elevation on the east side of the Divide, the 60 inches of snow represented 101 percent of median.

Those numbers are rosy compared to the Southern Colorado Rockies, where the snowpack in the Upper Rio Grand Basin is 53 percent of median in the combined San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan river basins is just 54 percent of median.

From The Colorado Springs Independent (Pam Zubeck):

Earlier this month, on March 19, we reported that Colorado Springs Utilities has the equivalent of three years worth of water stored in its reservoirs, a good thing considering how dry it’s been.

That abundance has led Utilities to predict its customers are unlikely to be placed under mandatory water restrictions this summer.

While something of a relief for all you horticulturists out there, the prospect of unlimited sales could mean the biggest year ever in water sales for Utilities. Since 2013, the department has seen water revenues increase by nearly a third…

So feel free to flood your pansies, trees and lawns. But if you want to keep your water bill in check, look into low-water landscaping and methods to have a beautiful yard without guzzling water.

Click here to view a list of Colorado Springs Utilities Water Wise Landscaping Classes.

From KJZZ.org (Steve Goldstein):

Arizona’s water challenges are typically pretty dramatic. Snowpack in the high country was light this season, and the deserts get little precipitation.

The Colorado River is moving closer to a shortage declaration, which would affect the state’s supply. And required conservation is not part of our vocabulary.

But the state has been credited with being visionary when it comes to water banking and groundwater. The business of water is a big part of the current and future plans for the state’s supply.

That is the overarching topic of a conference being held Wednesday in Tucson and hosted by the Univeresity of Arizona’s Water Resources Research Center.

Sharon Megdal, director of the research center, joined The Show to talk about the conference.

From KOAA.com (Bill Folsom);

More than just a coating of snow, some branches show a little bend with the weight of the most recent snowstorm in Southern Colorado. It is a sign of higher water content.

“I really do enjoy the science of it,” said News 5 follower and amateur weather tracker, Carl Ingram. The Woodland Park resident is faithful at testing for water content. Most of this year’s snowstorms have had little. “This entire winter has been very, very minimal water per snow. I’ve seen up to four inches of snow with .1” of water melting out of it.” This latest storm is an improvement. Ingram measured nearly a quarter inch of water from the snow. “This is the most water in one event that we’ve had since January 1st.”

High water content snow is important because water from snow is slowly absorbed into the ground as opposed to rain where more of it runs off toward streams. Water from snow helps lower fire danger. It is also the main source of Colorado’s water supply.

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