- About WIP
- Participating Entities
- Animas-La Plata Water Conservancy District
- City of Durango Utility Commission
- Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority
- Dolores Conservation District
- Dolores Water Conservancy District
- Empire Electric Association
- Florida Water Conservancy District
- La Plata Archuleta Water District
- La Plata Electric Association
- La Plata Water Conservancy District
- Mancos Conservation District
- Mancos Water Conservancy District
- Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD)
- Pine River Irrigation District
- San Juan Water Conservancy District
- Southwestern Water Conservation District
- Town of Silverton
- Town of Telluride
- Regional Water Projects
- Animas-La Plata Project (Lake Nighthorse)
- Animas River Stakeholders
- Cloud Seeding Program
- Dolores Project (McPhee Reservoir)
- Dry Gulch Reservoir (Pending)
- Florida Project (Lemon Reservoir)
- Mancos Project (Jackson Gulch Reservoir)
- Long Hollow Reservoir
- Pine River Project (Vallecito Reservoir)
- Rio Blanco Restoration Project
- River Protection Work Group
- Water Information
- Contact WIP
Snowpack across the West is still somewhat of mixed bag in this no-Niño winter, but February storms did help bolster water supplies across the northern tier of states, according to the monthly update from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
When a wildfire suddenly broke out last Friday in Lory State Park, west of Fort Collins, Coloradans breathed an anxious, collective sigh: not again. The early season blaze stirred unpleasant memories of last year's trying fire season, which scorched about 385,000 acres in the state, according to the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control.
In a concerning sign for water managers, Colorado’s snowpack is shrinking at a time of year when it usually grows steadily. Through late November, the statewide snowpack is tracking well below the historic average and just barely above the all-time minimum. Late fall and early winter snow tends to freeze into a solid base layer that melts slowly in the spring to sustain spring runoff.
It’s still early in the season, but so far, this year’s snow pack in Colorado is running behind even last year’s meager totals for this time of year, as the little bit of snow that fell last month melted away some of the SNOTEL sites.
Statewide snowpack is still well behind average, and even further behind last year at the same time, but it's slowly improving, Natural Resource Conservation Service officials say.
Each spring, water officials in Montezuma County play a guessing game with Mother Nature. The game is centered around water and goes a little something like this: "When will the snow start to melt? When will McPhee Reservoir start to fill? How much water will be part of this year's runoff?" The game is also played by others in the region.
“Drought” is the word of the season according to the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office.
On Nov. 1, SNOTEL data indicated basin snowpacks were over 130 percent of average. Unfortunately, a poor showing during November resulted in a drop in snowpack percentages by Dec. 1 to a mere 65 percent of average.
If there is a single certainty to the erratic endeavor of predicting flow levels of Colorado whitewater, it is that nothing is for certain. Ever. There are too many variables. Since Colorado draws the majority of its river water from snowmelt, there is the matter of not only how much snow falls, but where and when.
Tracking snow levels is a job for the Natural Resources Conservation Service. In the mid-1930s, the U.S. Congress mandated the service, then the Soil Conservation Service, to measure and track snowpack in the Western United States and Alaska. Until 1980 these measurements were taken manually.