Some ‘inconvenient truths’ about drought and water
Acquafresca, now representing Mesa County on the district’s board, noted that we’re in a protracted drought with only four of the last 18 years recording above average snowfall in Colorado’s high country, the primary source of Colorado River water.
Expected stream flows in the Colorado River Basin, according to Knight, are worrisome.
All but the Rio Grande contribute to flows into Lake Powell, which are anticipated to be only 42 percent of average, fifth lowest in 54 years.
Do the math, using whatever daily amount you want, and the dollar loss to local economies hurts.
Powderhorn, we all know, went to partial weeks of skiing this past year, using only 50 employees in January when 300 would be normal.
The good news up here, higher on the river, is that we have enough municipal, agricultural and industrial water stored for one more dry year.
The Bureau of Reclamation says there’s a 52-percent chance water levels at Lake Mead might be low enough in 2019 to force cutbacks in water use in Arizona, Nevada and Mexico, chances that increase to 64 percent in 2020 and 68 percent in 2021.Before you say "so what?"
you need to know continued drought means we’ll be impacted up here, above the dividing line between the lower and upper basin states, as well.
No matter the snowpack and stream flow conditions, the 1922 Colorado River Compact requires lower basin states get their allocations first.
Those of us above that gauge get what’s left, most years a lesser amount.