Continuous #drought keeps #Aspen under tight #water restrictions: City utility department keeps water users in stage two level — The Aspen Times #RoaringForkRiver #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

Colorado Drought Monitor map June 7, 2022.

Click the link to read the article on The Aspen Times website (Carolyn Sackariason). Here’s an excerpt:

For the third year in a row, the city of Aspen will continue to be under stage two water restrictions due to elevated drought conditions in Pitkin County. The U.S. Drought Monitor last month elevated Aspen and Pitkin County from abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions, according to Steve Hunter, the city’s utilities resource manager.

Map credit: The High Plains Regional Climate Center

Not only has the area experienced above-normal temperatures and below normal precipitation, Aspen started this spring with below average soil moisture. What that means is that drier soils will infiltrate snowmelt runoff reducing the amount reaching the streams, according to Hunter…

The city’s drought response committee has recommended in a staff memo to Aspen City Council that the municipality remain in stage two water restrictions, which it has been since the fall of 2020.

The 2021-22 snowpack was average to slightly above average for the Roaring Fork watershed as Western Colorado saw above average temperatures and below average precipitation in April and May, which have accelerated snowmelt, according to Hunter. Stream flows in the Roaring Fork watershed are estimated to be from 45% to 80% of average, and most rivers are predicted to have a smaller and earlier peak than normal.

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