Posted on May 1, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Annual State of the River meetings will update residents on water planning
Receding waters of Dillon Reservoir leave big swaths of shoreline exposed.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — While spring snowfall has brought some relief to small parts of Colorado, the majority of the state is still gripped by one of the worst droughts on record. The southeastern plains and the southwest mountains in particular have experienced a string of dry years, leaving soil moisture well below normal.
Statewide reservoir storage is also near historic low levels, and even with decent spring runoff in a few river basins, water managers will be scrambling to try and refill key s like Dillon and Green Mountain reservoirs. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Drought, Environment, rivers, Summit County Colorado, Summit County news, water | Tagged: Colorado, Colorado drought, Colorado River district, Denver Water, Dillon Reservoir, State of the River meeting | 2 Comments »
Posted on April 7, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Ever wondered about mountain pine beetle genetics? Read Summit Voice.
Water, forests and more …
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — In the age of a global economy and a global environment, nearly all news is local. Case in point is last week’s report from the Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General. The IG audited the U.S. Forest Service’s oil and gas drilling program, and found that there is quite a bit of room for improvement when it comes to being prepared for potential spills, and even just keeping track of required inspections.
Since the IG’s office documented a total of almost 200 spills on national forest lands in 2010 and 2011, it’s more than just a hypothetical exercise, and with oil and gas activities expected to ramp up on the White River National Forest, there are implications close to home. Read the story here. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Dillon Reservoir, Drought, events, Frisco, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: Colorado drought, Colorado news, Environment, forests, water | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 5, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
A deal between Xcel Energy and Denver Water and other water users to relax the Shoshone hydorpower water right will enable more storage in Dillon, Williams Fork and Green Mountain reservoirs this spring. Photo courtesy Xcel.
Shoshone hydropower water right ‘relaxed’ in collaborative response to 2-year drought; agreement enables about 20,000 acre feet of additional upstream storage early in the year
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Some key players in the Colorado River Basin have worked together to “relax” a senior water right near Glenwood Springs, enabling more water — about 20,000 acre feet — to be stored in upstream reservoirs.
“We expect to gain about 8,000 acre-feet each in Dillon and Williams Fork Reservoirs as a result of the relaxation,” said Denver Water spokesperson Stacy Chesney.
The 1,250-cfs water right for the Xcel-owned Shoshone hydropower plant dates back to 1902, making it one of the most senior rights on the river.
When Xcel exercises that water right, it affects other water users all the way up the river because it’s administered by the Colorado Division of Water Resources against junior water storage rights in Dillon and Williams Fork Reservoirs, the Colorado River District’s Wolford Mountain Reservoir and the Bureau of Reclamation’s Green Mountain Reservoir. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, Drought, rivers, water | Tagged: Colorado drought, Colorado River, Denver Water, Dillon Reservoir, Shoshone hydropower call, Xcel energy | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 4, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Some drought-hit areas stay dry
Summit County, western Eagle County and parts of Colorado’s northeastern plains saw well above-average precipitation in March, but much of the rest of the state was very dry.
Drought conditions persist at some level across all of Colorado as of late March.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Colorado’s snowpack continues to inch upward and recently passed last year’s level, but the state’s water woes aren’t over, according to the results of the latest Natural Resources Conservation Service snow survey.
The good news is that the snowpack hasn’t quite peaked yet, according to the April 1 compilation of statistics from automated SNOTEL sites and manual survey results. The bad news is that soil moisture in many parts of the state is still at drought levels, and reservoir levels are well below average and lagging behind last year.
While March snowfall was above average in some parts of Colorado, the statewide snowpack increased by only one percent during the month, from 73 percent of median on March 1, to 74 percent of median on April 1. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Drought, Snow and weather, Summit County snow and weather | Tagged: climate, Colorado drought, Colorado snowpack, Colorado weather, Natural Resources Conservation Service, SNOTEL | 2 Comments »
Posted on April 1, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
No March meltdown this year
In late March, 2012, Dillon Reservoir was well on its way to its earliest melt-out ever.
FRISCO — Precipitation and temperatures were probably fairly close to average in March, but conditions stand in stark contrast to last year, when Colorado experienced record-high temperatures during the same month, setting the stage for a summer drought and a dangerous wildfire season. By late in the month last year, Dillon Reservoir was melted all along the edges, with dark, rotten ice across the rest of its surface. This year, the snow piled up throughout the month and kept the ice well insulated from the sun. It’s never boring in the mountains, is it?
Filed under: climate and weather, Morning photo, photography, seasons, Snow and weather, Summit County snow and weather | Tagged: Colorado drought, Dillon Resevoir, March weather, snow, Summit County photography | Leave a Comment »
Posted on February 5, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Bare ground above 9,000 feet in early February is not good news for Colorado’s water situation.
Statewide snowpack 30 percent below seasonal average
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Despite some late-January storms, snowpack in the Colorado River Basin continues to lag behind last year and is 30 percent below average for this time of year, according to the latest tally from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Colorado’s southwestern mountains benefited the most from the January precipitation, with snowpack in the combined San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan basins climbing to 88 percent of normal; up from 70 percent of normal measured on January 1. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Drought, Snow and weather, Summit County snow and weather, Uncategorized, water | Tagged: Colorado drought, Colorado reservoir storage, Colorado River Basin, Colorado snow, Colorado snowpack, South Platte River Basin | Leave a Comment »
Posted on January 26, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
All of Summit and Eagle counties in the red zone this month
All of Colorado is currently experiencing some level of drought, with the driest conditions on the southeastern plains, while even some high-mountain headwaters areas are currently designated as being in extreme drought.
Automated streamflow and snowpack gages around Colorado help water managers calculate seasonal outlooks.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO —Snowpack levels and moisture content are so low that all of Summit County — a key headwaters source region for the Colorado River — has been colored red on the U.S. drought monitor map, signifying “extreme” drought conditions.
Summit County residents and visitors are in for an unpleasant surprise when the snow melts in a couple of months. Dillon Reservoir, the centerpiece of the area’s summer recreation activities, is going to be lower than at anytime during the past 10 years. Denver Water has continued to shunt water through the Roberts Tunnel during the early winter and according to the latest projections, the reservoir will probably drop another 10 feet by March. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, global warming, La Niña, Snow and weather, Summit County snow and weather | Tagged: climate, Colorado drought, Colorado snowpack 2013, Colorado weather, Extreme drought Colorado | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 1, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Forecasters say the storm door is starting to crack open
2012 snowpack even lower than last year.
The Climate Prediction Center 8 to 14-day outlook is for continued dry conditions across Colorado.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — After a brutally dry November, the weather pattern may be shifting in early December, bringing at least a chance of snow to parts of Colorado during the next few days. Statewide snowpack was at 41 percent of average as of Nov. 29, with some river basins as low as 26 percent
The moisture would be welcomed, not only by skiers hoping for softer snow and more terrain, but by state resource managers, who are nervously eying their reservoirs and the almost nonexistent snowpack. November precipitation added up to only 0.2 — 20 percent of average — inches at the Dillon observation site, while high temperatures for the month averaged an eye-opening 7 degrees above average. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado | Tagged: Colorado drought, Colorado snow, Colorado weather, Summit Country snow and weather, water | 2 Comments »
Posted on November 21, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Is Colorado facing more drought?
So far, the pattern of storms across the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies shows little signs of changing, with most of the weather action far north of Colorado.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Ullr, why has thou forsaken us?
If you’re holding out for more snow before heading out to make turns on the hill, you may want to reconsider. The outlook for the next 10 days is mostly dry and warm, with perhaps a chance of snow brushing the northern mountains Sunday night into Monday morning. Beyond that, another ridge will build into the Southwest, bringing more dry weather and a return to above normal temps for much of next week. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Snow and weather, Summit County Colorado, Summit County snow and weather | Tagged: Climate Prediction Center, Colorado drought, Colorado snow, Colorado weather, El Niño-Southern Oscillation, Pacific Decadal Oscillation, Pacific Ocean, skiing | Leave a Comment »
Posted on July 10, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Drought watch 2012
Denver Water promotes conservation, but new developments along Tower Road, near DIA, still include acres of bluegrass lawn and unsustainable irrigation practices, including sprinkler watering during high winds. Photo by Bob Berwyn.
*Editor’s note: This is one of an occasional series of contributed articles highlighting water conservation efforts in Colorado.
By Jim Lochhead, CEO/Manager of Denver Water
Denver Water is leading the way in water conservation in Colorado, helping customers with an ambitious goal: Use 22 percent less water than before the 2002 drought. And the plan is working. Denver Water customers are using 20 percent less water than they were before 2002 — and there are nearly 10 percent more of them.
Denver Water started promoting water conservation as early as the 1920s, but following the drought of 2002, Denver Water customers embraced a cultural shift in how they value water. One of the primary drivers for this culture change has been Denver Water’s advertising campaign. The campaign helps customers appreciate the value of water by encouraging them to “Use Only What You Need.” A 2011 survey found that almost 95 percent of respondents recognize the advertising campaign.
Aside from the campaign, several programs and rules encourage customers to use water wisely. Large irrigation customers, such as homeowners associations and commercial properties, can earn $6,000 per acre-foot of water saved by developing a plan to cut water use by at least 3 acre-feet a year. In the past five years, Denver Water has signed 68 contracts with those customers (with more in the works), saving an estimated 510 acre-feet of water per year — the annual amount used by roughly 1,275 households. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Drought, Environment, rivers, water | Tagged: Colorado drought, Denver, Denver Water, water, water conservation | 1 Comment »