From The Mountain Mail (Paul Goetz):
Local calls on the South Arkansas River, Browns, Bear and Cottonwood creeks are normal during a dry year, but what is unusual this year, District 11 water commissioner Brian Sutton said, is just how senior they are right now.
That means, because of the dry weather, water calls are reaching to and affecting more senior rights.
“We are more senior than normal. This year on the South Ark we are on a April 30, 1880, and the Cottonwood is on a Dec. 31, 1872,” he said. “Those are unusual call dates during the summer.”
What that means for water rights owners is that someone isn’t getting water downstream…
Cottonwood may stay in 1872 a little longer, but the South Ark may go more senior depending on the rain, he said…
The city of Salida has fairly senior rights from the 1870s or 1860s on the Harrington and Tenassee ditches, Sutton said.
While those rights aren’t in any imminent danger of going out of priority, being able to physically take water from the South Ark becomes more difficult as the creek drops…
Over the past nine months, precipitation received in Salida is 38.4 percent of average.
According to The Mountain Mail rain gauge at 125 E. Second St., Salida has received 2.86 inches of precipitation in the nine months since Oct. 1, 2017.
According to information compiled by climatologists at Colorado State University, the city’s average for the period is 7.44 inches.
From Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, Salida received 0.88 inch of moisture. The average for the three months is 2.77 inches.
From Jan. 1 through June 30, the city received 1.98 inches compared to the average for the six months of 4.67 inches.
June was the driest month. Salida received just 0.03 inch of rain in June, 3.6 percent of the average for the month of 0.83 inch.