#Drought continues to plague #Colorado raising concerns about ag water supplies — The Kiowa County Press #snowpack #runoff

From The Kiowa County Press (Chis Sorensen):

While much of Colorado has seen drought improvement since the start of the water year on October 1, 2020, extreme and exception conditions still cover much of western Colorado. Large portions of the rest of the state are experiencing severe and moderate drought conditions.

According to the latest report from the National Drought Mitigation Center, drought in Colorado was unchanged from the previous two weeks. Only minimal changes were noted three weeks ago when some improvements were recorded in the San Luis Valley, and a narrow strip in the southwest corner of the state that moved from exceptional to extreme drought.

Colorado Drought Monitor April 13, 2021.

In mid-March, a series of storms brought drought improvements for parts of Colorado, though little additional moisture has been received since that time.

Current snow water equivalent is well below normal for most Colorado river drainage basins. The South Platte basin in northeast Colorado, at 92 percent of normal, is the best in the state, while the San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan basin in the state’s southwest corner has fallen to 61 percent. The adjacent Gunnison basin fairs little better at 64 percent. Remaining basins range from 70 to 84 percent.

Westwide SNOTEL basin-filled map April 15, 2021 via the NRCS.

Statewide, the snow water equivalent – the measure of available water in the snow as it melts – stood at 73 percent of the median as of April 14, down from 79 percent April 9.

The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service noted concerns about reduced irrigation water supplies this season in northeast Colorado, while some producers in the San Luis Valley began irrigating last week. One report in the Valley expressed a possibility that fewer barley acres are being planted due to water supply concerns.

Overall, eight percent of Colorado is abnormally dry. Moderate drought covers 31 percent of the state, while severe conditions account for an additional 30 percent. Extreme drought is present in 17 percent of Colorado, with 15 percent in exceptional conditions. Total does not equal 100 due to rounding.

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