#Snowpack news (April 29, 2022): #Denver poised to see driest April on record heading into core fire season Denver has only gotten 0.01 inches of precipitation through April 27 — TheDenverChannel.com #drought

Click the link to read the article on the TheDenverChannel.com website (Blair Miller). Here’s an excerpt:

Denver is poised to see its driest April in 150 years this month and drought continues to worsen, as only one one-hundredth of an inch of precipitation has fallen so far and there is only a slight chance of rain through the end of the month. Denver has also only seen a trace of snow this month officially, which would put this April tied for fourth for the least snowy Aprils on record behind 1992, 1943 and 1930, when no snow fell. The 0.01 inches of precipitation, if it stands, would mark the driest April since the National Weather Service in Boulder began keeping records in 1872. In 1963, 0.03 inches fell in April, and in 1878, just 0.05 inches of precipitation fell. This century, 2002 was the driest April so far, when only 0.23 inches of precipitation fell…

Denver averages 1.53 inches of precipitation in April, according to the NWS. But it can also see plenty of precipitation during the month, as the top 20 wettest Aprils on record all saw more than 3 inches of precipitation – including a record 8.24 inches in 1900. Denver has also seen some very snowy Aprils, which is typically the second-snowiest month for the city. The snowiest April ever was 1933, when 33.8 inches of snow fell…

Colorado Drought Monitor map April 26, 2022.

Severe drought crept back into northeast Denver, most of Adams County, eastern Arapahoe County, and most of the eastern plains over the past week – areas that were mostly considered to be experiencing only moderate drought just a week ago, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

5 candidates run for Centennial #Water board — The #HighlandsRanch Herald

Centennial

Click the link to read the article on the Highlands Ranch Herald website (McKenna Harford). Here’s an excerpt:

Running for the open seats are Tammy Essmeier, Allen Dreher, Frank J. Johns, Neil L. Arney and Frank McNulty. Each candidate answered questions about themselves to provide Centennial Water voters with some information about their reason for seeking a seat on the board.

Arney is an attorney with knowledge of Colorado special districts who is new to Highlands Ranch and running to give back to his community.

Essmeier is a consultant on environmental regulations and laws, who has served as a volunteer with Centennial Water’s Citizen Engagement Committee.

Dreher, a former journalist, serves on the Highlands Ranch Metro District and is interested in joining the board to protect water sustainability.

Also a volunteer with the Citizen Engagement Committee, Johns is an engineer with previous experience operating water and wastewater facilities.

A former Colorado representative, McNulty owns Square State Strategy Group and previously served as the consulting attorney for the Colorado Department of Natural Resources.

Centennial Water users can vote in person from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 3 at 92 Plaza Drive or drop an absentee ballot in the drop-box at the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Highlands Ranch substation by 7 p.m. May 3.

Glenwood Canyon restoration continues, summer closures to be weather dependent — The #GlenwoodSprings Post-Independent

Looking up at the source of the debris flow in Glenwood Canyon August 2021. Photo credit: CDOT

Click the link to read the article on the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent website (Ike Fredregill). Here’s an excerpt:

Repairing Glenwood Canyon, Interstate-70 and mitigating future debris flow damages has cost state, federal and local governments about $27 million so far, a Colorado Department of Transportation spokesperson said. Joined by partnering agencies, CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew briefed media outlets Tuesday on efforts to repair the damage done to Glenwood Canyon by wildfires and historic debris flows in recent years…

Work is also expected to begin shortly on a primitive trail to Hanging Lake, Forest Service spokesperson David Boyd said. While the lake itself was spared by the debris flow events, the trail leading to the pristine woodland attraction was all but eliminated. Boyd said a trail reconstruction project is planned to begin Friday [April 29, 2022], which could install a primitive trail leading to the lake by mid-summer…

CDOT contractors Lawrence Construction and IHC Scott continue to remove material from the Colorado River at six locations throughout the canyon. More than 200,000 tons have been removed so far, CDOT Resident Engineer Andrew Knapp said…In addition to debris removal, CDOT is working with contractors and the U.S. Forest Service to build debris flow catchment fences, nicknamed “bathtubs,” alongside the roadways. The bathtubs create a basin where excess debris and water can collect during future events, minimizing impacts to the interstate and travelers, Knapp explained…

This summer, CDOT will be working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to determine whether the canyon will remain open ahead of potential significant rain events above the Grizzly Creek burn scar. When NOAA issues watches or warnings about potential debris flow events, Blake said CDOT will close rest areas and the Glenwood Canyon Recreation Path. If NOAA issues a watch, CDOT staff will head out to closure points along I-70, and should a warning be issued, Blake said the canyon would be closed for the duration of the warning.

#LakePowell dangerously close to dropping too low, Grand County may suffer as a result — The Sky-Hi News #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

Wildlife biologist Bill Vetter and Western Rivers Regional Program Manager with Audubon Rockies Abby Burk walk along an irrigation ditch in Grand County. An avian monitoring program aims to learn more about how birds use irrigated agriculture.
CREDIT: HEATHER SACKETT/ASPEN JOURNALISM

Click the link to read the article on the Sky-Hi News website (Meg Soyars). Here’s an excerpt:

If the lake does drop lower than 3,490 feet, it is uncertain how much water, if any, will be delivered to the communities that rely on it. Lake Powell doesn’t only supply water to millions of Americans, it also provides power through turbines at the Glen Canyon Dam. Below 3,490 feet, the dam will not be able to provide hydropower. All Colorado Basin states receive power from the dam. Kirk Klancke, president of the Colorado River Headwaters Chapter of Trout Unlimited, explained that the emergency at Lake Powell may seem far removed from Grand County, but it’s closely connected. Forty million people, from Wyoming to Mexico, rely on water from the Colorado River, including every Grand County resident. When someone turns on the tap here, they are getting the same water that will eventually get sent down to Lake Powell for a California (or other regional) resident…

Klancke feels the Lower Basin is demanding too much water from Lake Powell, and this may decrease the water supply of Upper Basin states like Colorado.

“My concern for Grand County is that our water rights will be cut into to make up the difference,” he said. “I worry they might go after our agricultural rights first … and (agriculture) makes up a huge part of our economy.”

Report: Insights Gained on Agricultural #Water #Conservation for Water Security in the Upper #ColoradoRiver Basin — Hutchins Water Center #COriver #aridification

Photo from http://trmurf.com/about/

Click the link to read the report on the Hutchins Water Center website (Hannah Holm). Here’s the introduction:

A series of hot, dry years in the Upper Colorado River Basin has led to increasing concern about the security of water supplies at region-wide and local scales for the following purposes and sectors:

• Maintaining compact compliance and preventing Lake Powell’s water level from dropping too low to generate power.
• Maintaining agricultural production and the vitality of rural communities.
• Maintaining municipal and industrial water security.
• Maintaining river ecosystems.

Without a strategic, collaborative approach to addressing these issues, there is a risk that individual entities will act independently to secure their water supplies against climate and legal uncertainties. This could lead to more permanent transfers from agriculture, with detrimental impacts on rural communities and unpredictable impacts on river ecosystems.

Over the past several years, there have been numerous explorations into new approaches to meeting community and environmental needs in the Upper Basin, including deliberate, temporary, and compensated reductions in water use in order to help balance supply and demand in the Colorado River system, share water supplies between agriculture and cities, and aid troubled streams.

This report distills insights from these explorations that can help illuminate how such deliberate, temporary reductions in water use could play a role in:

• Enhancing long-term water security for farms, municipalities, industries and rivers in the Upper Basin (upstream objectives).
• Compact compliance and protection of power generation capacity in Lake Powell (downstream objectives).

In this report, the term “strategic conservation” will be used to describe these deliberate reductions in water use to meet specific goals.

The insights covered in this report focus on the following topics:

• Water user interest
• Agronomic impacts of reducing water use
• Monitoring and verification of saved water
• Shepherding and conveyance of conserved water
• Pricing considerations
• Environmental considerations
• Additional considerations

For each topic, key insights and remaining uncertainties are highlighted and illustrative research, experiences and resources are described. Links to documentation are provided wherever possible.