@CWCB_DNR: May 2018 #Drought Update

Colorado Drought Monitor May 15, 2018.

Here’s the release from the Colorado Water Conservation Board (Taryn Finnessey) and the Colorado Division of Water Resources (Tracy Kosloff):

In order to respond to persistent and prolonged drought conditions throughout the southern half of the state and along the western border, the Governor activated the Colorado Drought Mitigation and Response Plan for the agricultural sector on May 2, 2018 , in the following counties:Montezuma, La Plata, Archuleta, Conejos, Costilla, Las Animas, Baca, Prowers, Bent, Otero, Huerfano, Alamosa, Rio Grande, Mineral, Hinsdale, San Juan, Dolores, San Miguel, Ouray, Montrose, Saguache, Custer, Pueblo, Crowley, Kiowa, Cheyenne, Lincoln, El Paso, Elbert, Gunnison, Mesa, Delta, Garfield and Rio Blanco. All of these counties are experiencing severe, extreme or exceptional drought as classified by the US Drought Monitor , and many have already received some level of drought designation from USDA . If present trends continue, other regions and sectors of the state’s economy may also be affected. Those areas will continue to be monitored closely.

■ October 2017 through April 2018 was the 5th warmest and the 5th driest on record for the state as a whole. Some locations throughout southern CO have experienced their driest and/or warmest Oct-Apr period on record.
■ Most regions of Southern Colorado reached their snow accumulation peak two to three weeks early and have experienced rapid snowmelt, resulting in melt out occurring three weeks earlier than normal.
■ Streamflow forecasts in the southern half of the state are extremely low, with multiple sites showing below 15 percent of normal.
■ Demand is increasing and reservoir storage in the most heavily impacted areas, the Southwest basins of the San Miguel, Dolores, Animas & San Juan have seen significant decreases in reservoir storage over the last two months. This combined basin currently has 91 percent of normal storage, the lowest storage levels in the state.
■ Isolated cattle sell off and prevented planting of some acreage has been reported. Due to high hay prices we anticipate additional cattle sell off, and unless conditions improve additional prevented and failed crop acres are likely.
■ Windy, dry conditions fueled fires in April leading to numerous large wildfires on both the west slope and the eastern plains. Current forecasts indicate above average potential for large wildfires through June (see image on reverse side) with late summer fire potential dependent on monsoon conditions.
■ As of May 15, exceptional drought, D4, continues to affect southwest Colorado and has also been introduced in the Sangre de Cristo mountains, covering eight percent of the state. Extreme drought, D3, covers 23 percent of the state; severe drought 20 percent and 14 percent is classified as moderate drought. An additional 14 percent of the state is currently experiencing abnormally dry conditions (see image on reverse side).
■ Reservoir storage statewide is at 111 percent of normal, with all but the southwest basins above average. The Arkansas basin is reporting the highest average storage at 129 percent. Front Range water providers mainly draw water resources from areas of the state that received near normal winter precipitation, and are therefore expecting reservoirs to fill, and are not anticipating any water use restrictions outside normal operations.
■ The Surface Water Supply Index (SWSI) values have declined slightly May 1, with much of the western slope classified as extremely dry. These values are largely driven by below average streamflow forecasts. The sub-basin with the highest value includes Lake Granby, a large reservoir.

@CWCB_DNR: April 2018 #Drought Update

Here’s the update from the CWCB/DNR (Taryn Finnesey/Tracy Kosloff):

Exceptional drought has been introduced into the four corners region of Colorado as persistent precipitation deficits continue. While early April storms have helped improve conditions throughout northern Colorado, the southern half of the state remains extremely dry. Conditions are somewhat tempered by strong reservoir storage, but water providers are already seeing increased demands and implementing restrictions. Agriculture is also seeing loss of winter wheat and strong winds have fueled early fires. Water year-to-date accumulation at Mesa Verde is the lowest in its 95 year record.

  • As of April 19, exceptional drought has been introduced in southwest Colorado, covering 4 percent of the four corners region, primarily in Montezuma and La Plata County. Extreme drought, D3, covers 21 percent of the state; severe drought 29 percent and 16 percent is classified as moderate drought. An additional 15 percent of the state is currently experiencing abnormally dry conditions (see image on reverse side).
  • As of April 19, statewide snowpack at SNOTEL sites is 69 percent of average. However, there is a stark contrast between conditions in the southern half of the state and the northern half. The Gunnison basin has the lowest snowpack on record while the Southwest basins and Rio Grande have already achieved their peak snowpack and have now seen a 50 percent melt off of their snowpack.
  • Many southern basins’ year –to-date precipitation, based on SNOTEL is tracking near 2002; while other sites have the lowest in the nearly 40 year record (see image on reverse side).
  • Reservoir storage statewide is at 114 percent of normal, with all basins above average. The Arkansas basin is reporting the highest average storage at 131 percent. The Southwest basins of the San Miguel, Dolores, Animas & San Juan have the lowest storage levels in the state at 101 percent of normal. While still above average, storage levels have begun to decline from previous months.
  • The Surface Water Supply Index (SWSI) values have declined for April 1, with much of the western slope classified as extremely dry. These values are largely driven by below average streamflow forecasts. The sub- basins with the highest values are a result of large reservoirs such as Lake Granby and John Martin Reservoir (See image on reverse side).
  • Streamflow forecasts are well below average for the vast majority of the state with the South Platte the only basin with any near normal projections. The southern half of the state continues to see declines, and the southwest corner has streamflow forecasts below 50 percent of average.
  • Longterm forecasts indicate below average precipitation into May coupled with increased likelihood of above average temperatures.
  • Statewide snowpack basin-filled map April 23, 2018 via the NRCS. Note Rio Grande did not render correctly. It was at 31% of normal on April 22, 2018.

    Statewide SNOTEL water year-to-date precipitation is below average across much of the state but particularly in the south with some sites in the San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan Basins recording all time lows.

    Colorado Drought Monitor April 17, 2018.

    Southern Colorado has continued to see an expansion of drought conditions through the snow accumulation season, with exceptional conditions now present in Montezuma and La Plata counties.

    April 1 Surface Water Supply Index values are well below normal for the western half of the state, with the driest regions in the four corners area.

    Colorado eyes activating drought response plan

    Your Water Colorado Blog

    StrontiaSpringsRes_S.PlatteRiv Front Range cities such as Denver have good supplies in reservoirs this year. Strontia Springs is one of Denver Water’s storage facilities.

    Program would aid hard-hit southern portions of the state

    By Jerd Smith, Water Education Colorado

    Colorado state officials will decide within the next 10 days whether to activate a drought response plan, a move designed to help farmers and towns in the ultra-dry southeastern and southwestern portions of the state.

    “The whole point of a drought plan is to make it hurt less,” said Taryn Finnessey, senior climate change specialist for the state. Her remarks came Thursday at a meeting of the state’s Water Availability Task Force in Denver.

    If the plan is activated, Finnessey said it would offer some concrete relief to communities and farmers who are already experiencing serious drought conditions, helping facilitate grants, and in some instances, insurance payments to those who are being harmed…

    View original post 448 more words

    Say hello to the new @CWCB_DNR, DWR, #Colorado’s Decision Support Systems website

    Click here to go to the website.

    Notice of Rulemaking – Artificial Recharge Extraction outside of the Designated Basins — DWR

    Denver Basin aquifer map

    Here’s the notice from the Colorado Department of Water Resources (Tracy Kosloff):



    The short title for these rules and regulations is “Artificial Recharge Extraction Rules,” and they apply to groundwater outside of the Designated Basins.

    Rulemaking Hearing Information

    Date: Tuesday, May 1, 2018
    Start Time: 8:00 a.m.
    Location: Room 814, 1313 Sherman Street, Denver, CO 80203


    Section 37-90-137(9)(d), C.R.S. directs the State Engineer to conduct rulemaking for the extraction of water artificially recharged into the nontributary Denver Basin aquifers. The Denver Basin Extraction Rules (2 CCR 402-11) were finalized in 1995. House Bill 17-1076 amended section 137(9)(d) to direct the State Engineer to promulgate rules that apply to the permitting and use of water artificially recharged into nontributary groundwater aquifers outside of the Denver Basin by July 1, 2018.

    The State Engineer’s approach is to modify the existing Denver Basin Extraction Rules to add nontributary aquifers outside of the Denver Basin (this does not include designated groundwater).

    For additional information about the rulemaking process, the hearing, or to access the proposed rules, please visit DWR’s website at


    DWR Job Opportunity: Physical Science Researcher / Scientist IV – Greeley, CO

    Click here for all the inside skinny and to apply. Here’s the description:

    Description of Job

    This position provides leadership, guidance and oversight as a work leader to the Division 1 operations group responsible for Augmentation Plan and Water Operations coordination and administration. This group supports water rights administration by developing methodologies to collect and analyze water diversion and delivery data from water users reported water accounting submittals to verify augmentation plans and water diversions are operated and accounted for in compliance with all applicable court decrees, statutes, rules and regulations. This position identifies and determines applicable professional standards and concepts incorporated into governing water court decrees and provide written protocol and guidance to staff regarding proper analysis of Augmentation Plan, water diversions, and return flows operations submitted in water accounting in accordance with water court decree requirements. This position, when necessary, provides recommendations for new process and procedures to collect, report, analyze and coordinate practices to allow compliance of these plans with the applicable decrees. This position prepares expert reports and expert testimony in Water Court trials not related to enforcement actions. Position is the work leader of three or more full-time positions.


    Oversee the performance of detailed reviews of existing and future Water Court decrees obtained by large capacity well augmentation plan and municipal entities to determine the specific requirements of each decree. Develop methodology for the collection, analysis, evaluation, reporting (water accounting) and administration of these plans on a plan by plan basis.

    Responsible for the development of methodologies to collect and analyze water diversion and delivery data for large capacity well augmentation plans, water diversions and return flow tracking.
    Perform and direct the analysis of water diversion, delivery, and return flow data contained in water users submitted water accounting using the application of established procedures, principles, conceptual models, professional standards and engineering/scientific judgment.

    Oversee the performance of periodic field inspections of large capacity well augmentation and water users diversions structures, return structures, and water measurement devices to assure the structures and devices are all functioning within allowable tolerances, usually with the assistance and input of the applicable Water Commissioner, Well Commissioner and the South Platte Main Stem Coordinator.
    Participate in all phases of any necessary enforcement actions resulting from the above described data analysis and review.

    This position is the work leader, supervising the work product of 3 or more subordinate positions including correctness, timeliness and soundness of the work product in accordance to developed methodologies, standards and written protocol. The position assists in aspects of supervisory authority, but will not be directly accountable for signature authority for actions and decisions that directly impact the pay, status and tenure of other employees.

    DWR job opportunity: District 8 Lead Water Commissioner (EPSTII)

    Click here to view the announcement from the State of Colorado website:

    Description of Job
    This Water Commissioner position exists to ascertain available water supply and distribute, control and regulate the waters in Division 1 Water District 8, including portions of the South Platte River, Cherry Creek, Plum Creek and tributaries, on a daily basis pursuant to water decrees, state statutes, and substitute water supply plans. Additionally, under the direction of the Division Engineer, this position exists to record and compile permanent records of water diversions and use; disseminate and explain information pertaining to water availability and use to the public;; monitor dams for unsafe conditions,; investigate new water rights and change of use applications for potential injury to existing water rights; coordination and administration of transmountain diversions; administration of water rights that include large municipal, industrial and irrigation water users; coordination and administration of several reservoirs including Cherry Creek Reservoir and Rueter-Hess Reservoir, storage and releases; administration of daily exchanges; administration of numerous augmentation plans; and to serve as a guide and authority to water users. This position requires knowledge of the different types of water rights and the ability to disseminate this information as may be required. This position also reviews, creates and operates computerized spreadsheets and databases. Must be knowledgeable of water distribution and regulation, general understanding of Colorado Water Law, Division 1 accounting principles and basic dam safety inspection procedures and techniquest.