#Snowpack/#Runoff news: @USBR forecasts 2019 #LakePowell releases at 9 million acre-feet

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

From The Deseret News (Amy Joi O’Donoghue):

A new study released by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation predicts a release of up to 9 million acre-feet of water from Lake Powell to Lake Mead this year, which means a possible shortage declaration looming in 2020 might be averted.

The snowpack in the Colorado River Basin is about 130 percent of average, with flows into Lake Powell predicted to be 128 percent of average during the runoff season.

According to the bureau’s 24 month operational study, the projected release will be updated each month and reflect the fluctuating levels at Lake Mead. Lake Mead’s Jan. 1, 2020, elevation is forecast to be 1,084.27 feet, almost 10 feet above the shortage determination trigger of 1,075 feet…

The seven basin states recently approved drought contingency plans, endorsed by Congress and awaiting the signature of President Donald Trump.

Should Lake Mead drop below the 1,075 elevation, that would trigger shortages for Arizona and California.

The contingency plans are designed to provide a workaround among all the states to reduce consumption and still ensure adequate delivery of water to the lower basin…

In fact, a 2012 benchmark study by the bureau showed that in the previous 10 years, the upper basin delivered more than 92 million acre-feet of water to the lower basin states of Nevada, Arizona and California — or 17 million acre-feet more than what was required under the compact.

Here’s the Westwide SNOTEL basin-filled map for April 16, 2019 via the NRCS.

Westwide SNOTEL basin-filled map April 16, 2019 via the NRCS.

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