Precipitation resets water peak, doesn’t drown out #drought concerns — Steamboat Pilot & Today #YampaRiver #GreenRiver #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

Click the link to read the article on the Steamboat Pilot & Today website (Dylan Anderson). Here’s an excerpt:

Precipitation in the last week has increased the amount of water in the Yampa, White and Little Snake River Basin’s snowpack, pushing it past the potential peak in late March. If that March 25 peak had held, it would have been the earliest since 2017, but nearly an inch of rain in April means the peak could come at the latest date it has since 2013.

“This week was like a godsend,” said Todd Hagenbuch, director and agricultural agent for the Routt County Colorado State University Extension Office. “I’m not going to say I’m overly optimistic now, but it was certainly better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.”

The snow-water equivalent of the area’s snowpack stood at 17.6 inches on Monday, April 18, according to the National Water and Climate Center. More moisture is always a good thing, according to Hagenbuch, who said the situation is not as dire now as it seemed each of the last two springs.

Colorado Drought Monitor map April 12, 2022.

This time last year, the U.S. Drought Monitor considered Routt County to be in extreme and exceptional drought. The latest map is less severe with the entire county considered to have moderate drought conditions.

While the snowpack is looking better, it is still at a lower level than last year’s peak of 18 inches of water, and well below the 30-year median peak of 21.3 inches for the basin. Water officials at the Colorado River District’s State of the Yampa River event last month said spring rain would be key to how this water year ends up. So far, precipitation has been near normal for April, and there is more in the forecast for later in the week.

Leave a Reply