Click the link to read the article on the Pagosa Springs Sun website (Josh Pike). Here’s an excerpt:
Low river flows in the San Juan river have triggered drought stage 1 for the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD), according to a June 21 press release from District Manager Justin Ramsey. Ramsey’s press release contin- ues that entering the drought stage requires a vote of the PAWSD Board of Directors, which is scheduled to come during a 4 p.m. special meeting on Wednesday, [June 22, 2022].
In an interview with The SUN, Ramsey explained that drought stage determinations are based on lake levels at Hatcher Lake, river flow in the San Juan River and the state drought stage, with the variables to weighted to give Hatcher the highest priority, followed by the river flows, followed by the state drought stage. Ramsey commented that, while Hatcher is “still in good shape,” the median river flow for June 21 is 929 cubic feet per second (cfs) and the flow for that day in 2022 was 250 cfs…
Rivers and drought
Stream flow for the San Juan River on June 22 at approximately 9 a.m. was 220 cfs, according to the U.S. Geological Service (USGS) National Water Dashboard. This is down from a recent peak of 662 cfs at 7:15 p.m. on June 19 and up from last week’s reading of 137 cfs at 9 a.m. on June 15.
According to Ramsey, the rise in river levels is linked to the recent storms in the area.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) reports hat 100 percent of the county is experiencing drought. It notes May 2022 was the 19th driest May in 128 years, with 1.03 fewer inches of precipitation than normal, and with 2022 to date being the sixth driest year in the last 128 years, with 5.22 inches of precipitation less than normal. The NIDIS also places the entire county in an extreme drought, which may cause pasture conditions to worsen and large fires to develop. The NIDIS also notes that an extreme drought can cause extremely low reservoir levels, mandatory water use restrictions and increases in water temperatures.