Colorado reservoirs after a dry September

9NEWS @ 5. 9/20/2016

KUSA - It’s been a gorgeous, but overall dry September across most of Colorado. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, about a quarter of the state is abnormally dry, including the Front Range and northwest parts of the state. The state’s water supply, though, is a different story.

On a warm September day, getting across Boulder Creek is more like child’s play.

“This time of year, September, is a time when river flows are at the lowest they are all year round,” Bart Miller, the healthy rivers program director at Western Resource Advocates in Boulder.

September is also a time of year when those in the business of providing water and begin taking a closer look at what’s left.

“I think the report is just reflective of the fact that we need to pay attention all the time to water and the condition of water around the state,” Miller said.

This month, though, things look pretty good, according to the state’s Water Availability Task Force.

It’s all thanks to more rainfall than normal in August in most of Colorado, which left reservoirs across the state with an average of seven percent more water than they would normally have at this time of year.

“Our reservoirs are at pretty high levels for this time of year,” said Tracy Kosloff of the Colorado Division of Water Resources and co-chair of the task force. “That’s giving our water providers a lot of confidence going into the coming months.”

But rainfall in September has been below average and water providers on the Front Range are reporting low stream flows. Water conservationists say it’s a sign that in Colorado and water planning can never stop.

“We have to constantly keep aware of what the conditions are like --- and to plan ahead for the future when it’s not so average, when we have a really dry year,” Miller said.

That is why state officials are waiting to see what snow might eventually come.

“We’re more looking forward to the winter season and what type of snowpack we’re going to accumulate in our mountains,” Kosloff said. “That’s really going to be the driver of our water supply going into the 2017 water year.”

The report from the task force notes the long-term forecast is still uncertain. El Nino is over and it’s not clear if a La Nina might develop. La Nina can mean drier conditions for Colorado.



Copyright 2016 KUSA


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