#Snowpack/#Runoff news: #DoloresRiver watershed SWE keeps building #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

From The Cortez Journal (Jim Mimiaga):

Dolores Basin snowfall as of Feb. 27 is at 114 percent of average, according to Snotel data with the Natural Resource Conservation Service…

Dam releases on the Dolores River below the dam are at 28 cubic feet per second. Releases will ramp up to 35 cfs at the end of February then 40 cfs in mid-March.

Runoff predictions by the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center for the Dolores River are approaching the historical average. However, it is still highly unlikely that there will be a whitewater boating release below McPhee dam in 2019, according to the Dolores Water Conservancy District.

This is attributed to the extremely low carryover in McPhee coming out of the 2018 shortage. In April, preliminary downstream release projections will be available.

Total snowfall for Cortez for the winter season – November through February – is at 44.8 inches, or 124 percent of average snowfall of 36 inches, said Jim Andrus, a Cortez meteorologist and observer for the National Weather Service.

From The Powell Wyoming Tribune:

In the snow-starved 2018 runoff year, the [Lake Powell] came up only 4 feet. The previous year (2017), the lake recovered 44 feet with snowmelt. Reservoir watchers are anxiously awaiting the 2019 runoff.

The picture at Lake Mead behind the Hoover Dam, only 25 miles from the Las Vegas strip, is even more dire. The last time Lake Mead, downstream on the Colorado below the Grand Canyon, was full to its capacity of 26 million acre-feet of water was in 1983.

After the last 19 years of drought and overuse, Lake Mead is at only 40 percent of capacity with roughly 12 million acre feet of held water in 2019…

Wyoming has a part to play in the drama. Wyoming, Utah and Colorado are the principal Upper Colorado River Basin states which contribute snowmelt to Lake Powell (and ultimately to Lake Mead). New Mexico bridges the upper basin and the lower basin areas of the Colorado River drainage.

The Green River Basin of Wyoming is the source of Colorado River runoff contribution from this state.

Westwide SNOTEL basin-filled map February 28, 2019 via the NRCS.

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