From The Pagosa Springs Sun (Clayton Chaney):
Winter is approaching in Pagosa Country, with Wolf Creek receiving over a foot of snow this past week.
As of 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 20, Wolf Creek Ski Area reported a total of 20 inches of snow received since Oct. 11.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Water and Climate Center’s snowpack report, the Wolf Creek summit, at 11,000 feet of elevation, had 2.1 inches of snow water equivalent as of 1 p.m. on Oct. 20.
The San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan River Basins were at 143 percent of the Oct. 20 median in terms of snowpack.
According to an Oct. 18 press release from Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) District Manager Justin Ramsey, the district remains in a Stage 1 drought per its drought manage- ment plan.
Ramsey notes that the primary driver of this drought stage is the San Juan River flow in conjunction with the U.S. Drought Monitor, which indicates our area is in a severe to moderate drought.
Ramsey notes that PAWSD is continuing to request voluntary odd/even watering days, “request- ing that if your address is an odd number only irrigate on odd calender days and vice-versa for even number addresses.”
There are no other mandatory water use restrictions in place, besides limiting irrigation to after 6 p.m. and before 9 a.m…
According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the San Juan River was flowing at a rate of 67.5 cfs in Pagosa Springs as of 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 20.
Based on 86 years of water records at this site, the lowest recorded flow rate for this date is 23 cfs, recorded in 1979.
The highest recorded rate for this date was in 1973 at 2,600 cfs. The average flow rate for this date is 171 cfs.
As of 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 20, the Piedra River near Arboles was flowing at a rate of 70.2 cfs.
Based on 59 years of water records at this site, the average flow rate for that date is 232 cfs.
The highest recorded rate for this date was 4,140 cfs in 1973.
The National Integrated Drought Information System (NI- DIS) was last updated on Oct. 12.
The NIDIS website indicates 100 percent of Archuleta County is ab- normally dry.
The percentage of the county in a moderate drought is listed at 69.81 percent.
The NIDIS website also notes that 42.68 percent of the county is in a severe drought stage, which is consistent with the previous report.
Additionally, the NIDIS website notes that 9.12 percent of the county, mostly in the southwestern portion of the county, remains in an extreme drought, consistent with the previous report.
The NIDIS website notes that under an extreme drought stage, large fires may develop and pasture conditions worsen.
No portion of the county is in an exceptional drought.
For more information and maps, visit: https://www.drought.gov/states/Colorado/county/Archuleta.