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Old 03-27-2012, 10:42 AM
Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A.
14,174 posts, read 22,531,332 times
Reputation: 10428


Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
People on the Front Range have been "fooled" by the fact that many areas there have had an overall "normal" winter for snowfall. Unfortunately, as far as the water supplies that they depend on for survival, that means close to nothing. Colorado lives or dies on the amount of mountain snowpack that accumulates in the winter. If that is poor (and it is in most areas of Colorado this year), then the water supplies for the summer are jeopardized. The only saving grace this year is the most reservoirs are near full with a carryover from the 2010-2011 winter snowpack. At most, though, all that buys us is some water supplies for this year. If we have another dry winter--and, quite often, dry winter patterns like we are experiencing now will last for several years, then we will have exhausted that reservoir storage "cushion" by next year.

Too, some of the water in those reservoirs really does not "belong" to Colorado. A good example of that is the complex of reservoirs that make up Colorado's biggest water storage reservoirs--the Curecanti Project (now called the Wayne Aspinall Unit), comprised of Blue Mesa, Morrow Point, and Crystal Reservoirs. Most of the water stored there does not "belong" to Colorado users, but must be released to satisfy downstream users outside of Colorado. Basically, the sequence of events is this: if Lower Colorado River Basin states (California, Nevada, and Arizona) are not receiving their allowed allotment from the Colorado River Compact of 1922, then water must be released from Lake Powell to satisfy the allotment. In turn, Blue Mesa Reservoir, the main water storage reservoir of the Aspinall Unit, must release water to attempt to re-fill Lake Powell. Also, in fact, a major purpose of the Aspinall Unit reservoirs were as "cash register dams" for the Colorado River Storage Project. Their purpose was to generate electrical power for the Bureau of Reclamation to sell to help offset some of the costs of the Project.

Colorado also has interstate water compacts, with Nebraska and Kansas on the Arkansas, Platte, and Republican River drainages, and New Mexico and Texas on the Rio Grande drainage. If Colorado can not satisfy the water requirement of those compacts with those downstream states, then Colorado water users in those river basins may see their water supplies curtailed or cut off entirely until the compact requirements are satisfied.

Thanks to out-of-control population growth, Colorado no longer has the luxury of excess water supplies to support municipal use, agriculture, industry, streamflows and wetland protection--even in a normal year. Essentially, every river basin in Colorado is overappropritated--that is, there are more water rights granted to water users than there are water supplies--even in a normal year. In a drought situation, something will have go without water. This state really needs to have a discussion about who gets to go without when that happens--and this may be the year that we hit the wall.
Well, that's why I have a small lot, and xeriscaping - very little grass. I don't understand why in Denver they don't do more landscaping like you see in Vegas or Phoenix... with the rocks/desert plants in medians and along freeways.

Old 03-27-2012, 06:42 PM
20,336 posts, read 37,847,549 times
Reputation: 18129
Winter is over....everyone please post your final thoughts or recaps and then we'll close this in the near future.

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Old 03-27-2012, 08:12 PM
Location: Pueblo - Colorado's Second City
12,104 posts, read 20,376,103 times
Reputation: 4132
Winter is not over as we can still get snow thru April. Granted this has been a unusually warm March but knowing Colorado like I do I suspect there will be at least one or two more snow storms before summer is here.
Old 03-27-2012, 09:51 PM
Status: "Not politically correct" (set 8 days ago)
Location: Western Colorado
10,567 posts, read 11,666,560 times
Reputation: 24270
Good bye winter, where ever you were, sure not here.
Old 03-28-2012, 11:10 AM
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
7,756 posts, read 16,470,226 times
Reputation: 9292
Twas quite wintry enough for me! Now I'm looking forward to the end of wind season.
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