Western Slope #water advocates reflect on 2022 water year — The Summit Daily #ColoradoRiver #COriver #monsoon2022 #aridification

Upper Colorado River Basin Drought Monitor map September 27, 2022.

Click the link to read the article on the Summit Daily website (Eliza Noe). Here’s an excerpt:

Summit County and northwest Colorado saw an encouraging summer, but drought conditions persist throughout much of the Colorado River Basin

Brendon Langenhuizen, director of technical advocacy for the Colorado River District, said that this water year has been “fairly close to normal.” 

Last night’s storm (July 30, 2021) was epic — Ranger Tiffany (@RangerTMcCauley) via her Twitter feed.

“We’re still in a drought. There’s still dry conditions,”  he said. “I want to stress that it has improved, and I think a lot of that has been in part due to those monsoons.”

Westwide SNOTEL basin-filled snowpack map April 29, 2022 via the NRCS.

He said that snowpack for the Colorado River headwaters was decent for 2022, but temperatures were higher than usual as well. A good monsoon season finished off the water year, he added, and the three main water basins on the Western Slope — the Yampa-White, the Colorado headwaters and the Gunnison — had similar conditions, which is unique. In general, Langenhuizen added, the Western Slope started off really dry, trending toward the driest kind of snowpack that the region has had. Then, a snow-filled December came around Dec. 9 to Jan. 9, where snowstorm systems kept coming and pushed all of the region well above average for snowpack. Shortly after there was another drought of snow. That lasted all the way through most of February. After that, the region started to get some snow again and it turned out to be an average to below average year, he said…

Brad Udall: Here’s the latest version of my 4-Panel plot thru Water Year (Oct-Sep) of 2021 of the Colorado River big reservoirs, natural flows, precipitation, and temperature. Data (PRISM) goes back or 1906 (or 1935 for reservoirs.) This updates previous work with @GreatLakesPeck. Credit: Brad Udall via Twitter

“We have lots of interesting challenges ahead of us on the Colorado River as water users,” Marti Whitmore, president of the board of the Colorado River District, said. “There are no easy solutions. If there were, we’d already have found them. It’s really important that as we move forward to address our challenges that we make sure we have off effects that we spend time carefully considering the potential implications and ramifications and try to avoid unintended consequences.”

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