Lake Powell

May 12, 2016--Sixteen years of drought in the Colorado River Basin: Reality or talking point? (Grand Junction Sentinel)

I was recently reading an article on the negotiations among the Lower Basin states concerning their use of Colorado River water when I came across this phrase: “after 16 years of drought.” It’s a phrase I’ve been seeing for many years now.

CRRG Reports: Lake Mead Structural Deficit and a Call for Unified Management of Colorado River

A December 2015 report by the Colorado River Research Group (CRRG) calls for enacting strategies to deal with the structural deficit in Lake Mead. The lower basin reservoir of Lake Mead receives about 9 million acre-feet (AF) of water annually primarily the upper basin state’s Lake Powell. However, when evaporative losses are factored in, Lake Mead loses 10.2 million AF each year. This annual shortfall of 1.2 million AF of water has come to be known as the structural deficit. According to one of the report authors, Doug Kenney, while this is primarily a lower basin issue, the faster the structural deficit pulls down Lake Mead, more legal and political pressure will be on the upper basin states.

March 29, 2016--Difficulties arise in efforts to save water for Powell (Post Independent)

A recent Bureau of Reclamation report projects that Western river basins, including the Colorado Basin, are likely to experience a 7-27 percent decline in spring streamflows during this century. The bureau’s 2016 SECURE Water Act Report to Congress, which can be found at 

March 15, 2016--Lake Powell tied at the turbines to ski lifts (Mountain Town News)

Just how much more water can be drawn from the rivers that originate near Winter Park, Breckenridge, and Aspen, as well as Crested Butte, Telluride, and Durango, before the electrical supply powering the ski lifts gets wobbly? That sounds a bit like a zen koan, but in fact, it’s at the heart of a discussion now underway in Colorado.

March 10, 2016--El Nino and the Colorado (Boulder Weekly)

Water levels and rainfall for the Colorado River basin were below-average in January and February, and will remain so until at least July 2016, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The basin is at only 61 percent of its seasonal average. Likewise, inflow into Lake Powell and Lake Mead is also below the seasonal average.

February 17, 2016--South Platte roundtable wants in on West Slope water study (Aspen Daily Times)

An official body representing South Platte River water users wants a say in a pending study of how much more can be diverted from Western Slope rivers before Lake Powell drops to a level that stops the turbines in Glen Canyon Dam and makes it harder to meet downstream flow obligations. “Since we’re involved with the Colorado-Big Thompson project, the largest transmountain diver

January 11, 2016--Department of the Interior proposes adaptive management framework for Glen Canyon Dam (St. George News)

The U.S. Department of the Interior released a proposed framework Friday for adaptively managing Glen Canyon Dam over the next 20 years with the goal of creating certainty and predictability for power and water users while protecting environmental and cultural resources in Grand Canyon National Park and the Colorado River ecosystem.

January 4, 2016--Report: Lake Mead dropping 12 feet per year (Rocky Mountain PBS)

The math is simple. So states a disarming truism in a new report from the Colorado River Research Group, formed of water scholars in four states, “an independent, scientific voice for the future of the Colorado River.” In 2007, the U.S.

At the Margins

Across the Colorado River Basin precipitation has been well above average, and while it has not been enough to make up for a weak winter snowpack, it has been enough to improve things significantly at the margins, at a time when “at the margins” is where the basin’s managers have been eking out a nerve-wracking existence. In particular, a 2016 Lower Basin shortage declaration, which would have mandated reduced water deliveries to Central Arizona, seems a lot less likely.

June 28, 2015--Can cloud-seeding ride to the rescue? (Mountain Town News)

After a so-so winter, the snow piled up through May in the mountains of Colorado, taking the edge off drought. This takes the edge off of the big Colorado River reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell.

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