Colorado River reservoirs less than half full

Colorado River reservoirs less than half full

News Type: Regional, Federal Source: Mountain West News
Click here to read the article: https://mountainwestnews.org/zinke-boots-his-own-watchdog-b0fc75c6bd34

As of Oct. 1 reservoirs that store the Colorado River’s water are at just under 47 percent of their capacity, according to recently released data from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Put another way: Reservoirs that provide water to 40 million people and irrigate 5.5 million acres of farmland in the southwest are less than half full.

The previous low point for the river’s collective reservoir storage was recorded in 2004 after years of dry conditions within the southwestern watershed caused the combined storage to drop to 50 percent of capacity.

A water year is used by water managers to track snowpack and runoff on an annual basis. Each water year begins Oct. 1 and ends Sept. 30, meant to coincide with the arrival of snow in the Rocky Mountains. The vast majority of the Colorado River’s flow is provided by melting snow in the southern Rockies.