#Drought news: Reservoirs full, but water future uncertain — The Montrose Press

West Drought Monitor November 19, 2019.

From The Montrose Press (Katharhynn Heidelberg):

“Blue Mesa (Reservoir) still has a lot of water in it. Everybody is doing pretty well for carryover storage,” Erik Knight, a hydrologist for the Bureau of Reclamation, said.

Taylor Park Reservoir and Ridgway Reservoir — both of which are storage pots for Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association members’ river water rights — are bearing up fairly well too, he said, and although Ridgway is a little lower, it is in “much better shape” than it was this time last year.

“Our accounts are full at both Ridgway and Taylor and we filled our first and second fill both at Taylor,” UVWUA manager Steve Anderson said. “This is only the second time ever that we’ve had a full second-fill account. So that’s all good news.”

This past summer, however, did not bring the type of monsoonal moisture that is usually anticipated.

Apart from one storm in October, the month was quite dry and November has so far been even drier, Knight said, although current storms were expected to help.

On Thursday, the Gunnison River Basin’s snow water equivalent was 1.5 inches; normally, it would be 3 inches for this time of year, Knight said. However, at this time of year, BuRec only would expect 15 percent of total snowpack to be present…

Powell, at about 53 percent, is faring better than Mead, at 39 percent, but hasn’t recovered above its 50-year average, according to information from Western Resource Advocates. For the first time, levels at Mead prompted mandatory cuts next year for the Lower Basin States, in accordance with the provisions of the recently approved Drought Contingency Plan.

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