Is the Drought Over?
Kristen Fefes with ALCC sent this out yesterday and I thought it had some really good information that I wanted to share with you. She said:
After all this snow and rain, it seems a bit silly to title an email “drought watch.” But, we’ll leave it for the time being.
There has been discussion among various water providers about restrictions. Louisville and Lafayette have lifted restrictions, but as of today, they are the only ones. Many others are still in a “wait and see” mode, as much of the snowpack has yet to turn into reservoir water. Of the front range providers, Colorado Springs is the least likely to lift any restrictions. ALCC we will be updating the restrictions spreadsheet as things are announced.
Denver Water sent this letter today to ALCC asking us to pass this onto members. You may have seen this in the media as well.
We’re finally getting some sunshine in Denver, and along with that we’re seeing irrigation season officially beginning in Denver Water’s service area. The snow and rain over the last several weeks have increased the snowpack in the Colorado and South Platte river basins significantly. This is great news, although the watersheds in these basins where Denver Water receives its water supply still lag behind average. With the media paying a lot of attention to spring runoff projections, we know it’s hard to remember that our reservoir levels are still very depleted due to a dismal 2011-2012 winter and a hot, dry summer last year. So what do all of the stream flow forecasts and reservoir projections mean? They are data points to help guide us, but as the words “forecast” and “projection” indicate, we’re still in a waiting mode until we have more certainty and those reservoirs actually receive the water they are projected to get. Weather conditions in the next two months may still have a big impact on that. If it’s dry, we’ll still be sitting uncomfortably low at 80 percent full. But if it’s wet, we may be above 95 percent full. Just like no one predicted our snowy April, forecasts and predictions are rarely 100 percent accurate. Given the changing conditions and the need to ensure our water supply for 2014 and beyond, water utilities are naturally cautious. At this time all Stage 2 drought response measures remain in place. The Denver Water Board of Commissioners will continue to review the conditions at their regular meetings to ensure that our drought response matches the conditions. Their next meeting is May 22. In keeping with our community outreach efforts we began last winter, we’ll let our customers immediately if anything changes.