#Drought news: Slight improvement in SE #Colorado

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


Early in the drought week, moderate precipitation fell along the East Coast with the heaviest rains falling in the eastern Carolinas and central Pennsylvania. Much-needed rains fell in a swath of area covering eastern Wyoming, much of Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma, eastern Colorado and the majority of New Mexico. The northern Plains, Midwest and South saw lighter precipitation amounts. Central and south Texas saw little to no precipitation during the week while the dry pattern continued for much of the West. For the month of July, preliminary statewide temperature data suggest much of the U.S. was warmer than average. The West, Southwest, South, and Northeast were among the warmest third of historical records which date back 124 years. Total precipitation amounts for the month of July were below average for much of the Midwest and Northwest. Also during the month of July, above average precipitation fell in the Mid-Atlantic States to Northeast, Southwest and parts of the High Plains…


Much-needed precipitation fell across most of Oklahoma and west central Arkansas, prompting the contraction of drought in some locations. Anywhere from a half inch to nearly 3 inches fell mostly north of I-40 in Oklahoma and south of I-40 in Arkansas. There was a precipitation surplus in parts of western Oklahoma stretching into north Texas, prompting the further contraction of drought and abnormal dryness there as well as in the central part of Oklahoma. In northeast Oklahoma, abundant precipitation the past 30 days prompted the removal of D3. Drought/dryness continued for much of Texas. Precipitation departures mounted, with precipitation approaching 10 percent of normal at the 30-, 60-, and 90-day time periods in much of south and east Texas. Exceptional drought was added to some locations in the south central part of the state where the dryness is the worse as well as in north central Texas along the Oklahoma border. Moderate to severe drought was contracted in southwest Arkansas where moderate rains fell…

High Plains

A swath of light to moderate precipitation fell in an area roughly covering north and east Wyoming, east Colorado and much of Nebraska and Kansas. The heaviest precipitation fell in western Nebraska, Kansas and eastern Colorado where amounts of 2 inches were widespread. Despite the rains, long-term drought was hardly effected. There was a slight improvement in southeast Colorado, and D1 was removed in southwest Kansas where short term indicators have rebounded. Despite the monsoon season ramping up, dryness continued in west central Colorado where D3 was expanded. Moderate drought was expanded in southwest Wyoming where it remained dry during the period. There was also a slight expansion of D0 and D1 in North Dakota while D0 was contracted in southeast North Dakota into northeast South Dakota…


A swath of light to moderate precipitation fell in an area roughly covering north and east Wyoming and east Colorado. Monsoon rains continued to provide drought relief for some areas of the Southwest. Southern New Mexico saw the greatest improvements as drought was roughly reduced by 1-category in many areas. The heaviest rains have yet to reach east central New Mexico where extreme drought was expanded. The Northwest remains dry as precipitation during the past 6 months was 50-75 percent of normal across much of the region. Wetness prevailed in much of southern Montana. Abnormal dryness (D0) was expanded in Idaho where short-term deficits exist. Based on preliminary data, July ranked as one of the ten driest July’s on record in Idaho. The dry season continued in California and typically no changes are made there this time of year. However, some indices were showing greater drought than what is currently depicted. If negative impacts start to come in, then perhaps degradations would be needed. Wildfires continue to burn in the West. Of those, the Goose Creek fire in Nevada has burned more than 120,000 acres and the Carr Fire, outside of Redding, California, has burned more than 110,000 acres…

Looking Ahead

During the next five days, moderate to heavy precipitation is projected to fall along the East Coast with amounts generally totaling up to five inches. The heaviest rains are forecasted to fall in the Southern Appalachians and the Panhandle of Florida. Much of the South is forecasted to remain dry during the next five days but average temperatures are expected to remain near normal. Temperatures could be as much as 10-20 degrees F below normal for parts of the Midwest early in the period along with 1-2 inches of precipitation. Temperatures in this area are expected to rebound later in the period. The Southwest Monsoon is expected to continue, producing beneficial rains for New Mexico and parts of Arizona. The Climate Prediction Center expects the greatest odds of above normal temperatures in the Southern Rockies stretching into the High Plains and in the Northeast during the next 6-10 days. The greatest probability of below normal precipitation during this period is centered in the High Plains.

The latest “E-Newsletter” is hot off the presses from the Hutchins Water Center #LakeMead #ColoradoRiver #COriver

Pumped storage hydro electric.

Click here to read the newsletter. Here’s an excerpt:


A proposal to use Lake Mead to store energy by pumping water into it from downstream using solar power and then releasing the water through the dam’s hydropower plant to meet peak energy demands has generated excitement and controversy. This Nevada Independent article sums up the potential and the complications of implementing such a plan.

Photo via CorbittsNationalParks.co

San Juan (#NM) Water Commission study identifies possible pipeline alternatives from Lake Nighthorse to Farmington

Lake Nighthorse and Durango March 2016 photo via Greg Hobbs.

From The Farmington Daily Times (Hannah Grover):

Building a pipeline from Lake Nighthorse to Farmington could cost between $83 million and $173 million without calculating the cost of acquiring right of way access, a consultant to the San Juan Water Commission told the group today.

Rick Cox, a senior engineer for the engineering firm AECOM who also serves as a consultant for the San Juan Water Commission, targeted that figure while delivering a presentation for the water commission during its monthly meeting here.

The commission spent about $20,000 on a study to look at three alternatives that could help local water users if another mine spill occurred in Colorado and dumped toxic material in the Animas River. Those alternatives included building a small-diameter pipeline from Lake Nighthorse, building a large-diameter pipeline from Lake Nighthorse and building additional storage reservoirs.

The lake is a storage facility located in a recently annexed portion of the city of Durango, Colorado. It stores water from the Animas River for several member entities including the Navajo Nation, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, the Southern Ute Tribe, the city of Durango and the San Juan Water Commission.

Building shallow ponds to increase the storage capacity by 50 million gallons at the lake was the least expensive of the three options cited during today’s meeting. Cox said it would cost about $18 million. The additional 50 million gallons of storage would last about 14 days.

The San Juan Water Commission represents Aztec, Bloomfield, Farmington and rural water users in San Juan County. Cox said not all of those water utilities would require additional storage capacity if another mine spill takes place.

He explained that some water utilities, such as the Lower Valley Water Users, already have enough storage capacity. Other water users, such as the city of Bloomfield, could benefit from additional storage capacity, Cox said.

Pipeline could provide water during drought

While the additional water storage capacity would help local water users if another mishap like the Gold King Mine spill of August 2015 occurs, it would not provide much help during drought conditions, Cox said.

A large-diameter pipeline could provide the water users with water for up to 114 days during drought, Cox said.

The commission is considering having a more extensive feasibility study conducted on the three alternatives presented by Cox. San Juan Water Commission executive director Aaron Chavez said that would cost about $250,000…

The San Juan Water Commission has rights to 20,800 acre-feet of water stored in Lake Nighthorse. During a drought, the water commission can call upon the Animas-La Plata Operations, Maintenance and Replacement Association, which oversees Lake Nighthorse operations, to release water for San Juan County water users. Currently, the only way to get that water from Lake Nighthorse to the water users in New Mexico is to release it back into the Animas River. A pipeline would ensure all the water released from Lake Nighthorse reaches water users in San Juan County.

Animas-La Plata Operations, Maintenance and Replacement Association general manager Russ Howard warned commissioners not to rely on Lake Nighthorse. Howard said it could take years to refill the reservoir after water is withdrawn. He warned if there was a multiple-year drought, Lake Nighthorse could only be an option for one year.