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Dave I.

Well-Known Member

ndscott50

Member
It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next several months. The current plan calls for the release of an extra 181 thousand acre feet from upstream reservoirs through the end of the year. This essentially covers 10 days of the current daily losses in storage we have seen over the last few weeks. It helps Powell a little, they indicate it can add three feet of water, but I'm not sure there is a big difference between the year ending at 3525 vs. 3522.

At some point they are going to have to look at substantial releases (particularly if we have another weak snow year) to prop up Powell. That is probably when the fighting starts. Blue Mesa as an example is already at only 43% of capacity and only has 363,000 acre feet of water left. If it dumps 200K - it will be near empty and still not have much effect on Powell water levels. Users of that reservoir are also likely to be unhappy about that.

The substantial water is in Flaming Gorge which is 82% full with 3.1 million acre feet. Navajo is lower at 63% capacity and around a million acre feet. I am already wondering why they appear on track to dry up Blue Mesa when there is 3.1 million acre feet in Flaming Gorge.
 

Dave I.

Well-Known Member
There is one problem with this and it's the same concern I have about the people that say drain Powell to fill Mead. It's a temporary solution for only one part of the Colorado drainage basin.

If the snowpack doesn't come, it's just borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. Sure, it will be great to see some more water come into Powell but if these reservoirs don't replenish, then it's just spreading the low water conditions.

On a side note, I was thinking about these "drainers" that want to drain lake powell to fill Mead. Maybe they just don't realize the little fact that if the GC dam wasn't in place, right now they would have less than 5534 inflow compared to the 10000 c.f. that they enjoy now. Without Powell, there would be no reserve. Powell will benefit from the reserves we have upstream much like Mead benefits from Powell's release.

Sustainability is why every dam along the Colorado River is in place.
 

Dorado

Well-Known Member
It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next several months. The current plan calls for the release of an extra 181 thousand acre feet from upstream reservoirs through the end of the year. This essentially covers 10 days of the current daily losses in storage we have seen over the last few weeks. It helps Powell a little, they indicate it can add three feet of water, but I'm not sure there is a big difference between the year ending at 3525 vs. 3522.

At some point they are going to have to look at substantial releases (particularly if we have another weak snow year) to prop up Powell. That is probably when the fighting starts. Blue Mesa as an example is already at only 43% of capacity and only has 363,000 acre feet of water left. If it dumps 200K - it will be near empty and still not have much effect on Powell water levels. Users of that reservoir are also likely to be unhappy about that.

The substantial water is in Flaming Gorge which is 82% full with 3.1 million acre feet. Navajo is lower at 63% capacity and around a million acre feet. I am already wondering why they appear on track to dry up Blue Mesa when there is 3.1 million acre feet in Flaming Gorge.
Flaming Gorge is about 4.5 times larger than Blue Mesa. It is not drawn down annually to the extent of Blue Mesa, as it would take years to refill. It will act as a buffer to keep adding to more inflow than would normally occur. They always keep the water as high in the system as possible, once it is gone you can't get it back for future use!

As a side note, and I don't know if it factors in to how they run the water deliveries, but the upper Green River has not been as affected by the drought over the past 20 years as the Colorado. That is one reason why it is still relatively full. Lots of people who recreate on Flaming Gorge would scream about dumping FG to raise LP a few feet!
 

Jwc

Well-Known Member
Man I guess uncle Ed was right all along ... sabotage might be the best recommendation. The great state of Colorado gives a lot( water) and sure receives very little, except rude tourists from Cali and Texas and AZ that trash our forests and drive their lame side by sides through the wildflowers and over the alpine tundra. Now the feds are gunna take water from two of selfish me’s favorite lakes that are already struggling with extreme drought conditions like every where in the SW . low blow, I guess let the water wars begin. Love lake Powell , always have. But wouldn’t care if all the golf courses in Phoenix and Vegas turned into dirt patches and all the lights in the city went out. Oh wait I guess that means I couldn’t come to powell .. well I know the proud folks of Utah wouldn’t mind seeing one less dope smokin hippie from Colorado on their highways....at least I keep my vehicle on tread and respect the desert tho . As most of my fellow west slopers do. The Southwest has caused and excepted climate refuges for thousands of years, gunna happen again soon. Catch all you pho town folks w money up here in the mountains. Droughts chasin you tho, I heard Tennessee’s nice. Lots of water
 

Hoskm01

Well-Known Member
Man I guess uncle Ed was right all along ... sabotage might be the best recommendation. The great state of Colorado gives a lot( water) and sure receives very little, except rude tourists from Cali and Texas and AZ that trash our forests and drive their lame side by sides through the wildflowers and over the alpine tundra. Now the feds are gunna take water from two of selfish me’s favorite lakes that are already struggling with extreme drought conditions like every where in the SW . low blow, I guess let the water wars begin. Love lake Powell , always have. But wouldn’t care if all the golf courses in Phoenix and Vegas turned into dirt patches and all the lights in the city went out. Oh wait I guess that means I couldn’t come to powell .. well I know the proud folks of Utah wouldn’t mind seeing one less dope smokin hippie from Colorado on their highways....at least I keep my vehicle on tread and respect the desert tho . As most of my fellow west slopers do. The Southwest has caused and excepted climate refuges for thousands of years, gunna happen again soon. Catch all you pho town folks w money up here in the mountains. Droughts chasin you tho, I heard Tennessee’s nice. Lots of water
I don't normally read things and hear it in a voice but reading your rant had me hearing it come out of this guy's mouth.
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Unfortunately, it's not "our" water (fellow Coloradoan) nor is it Wyoming's nor Utah's. We're lucky enough to live in this place at the top of the hill where the water starts flowing but it has someone else's name on it as soon as it hits the ground.
 

JRJ

New Member
Interesting comment Old man. Suspect many dont know or understand what you are talking about here or about the Salt and Verde watershed users in AZ. However the CO "ranter" may have a point as to grass in Vegas.
 

John P Funk

Well-Known Member
Colorado is the victim of bad negotiating in the Colorado River Compact of 1922. We agreed to give the lower basin states their water first, and that we would keep the "extra". It was a good deal for everyone when there was plenty of water, not so much during a sustained drought. A drought contingency should have been developed much earlier.
 

Bollyb

Member
I understand there are a myriad of requirements that the compact dictates as to who gets what water and when, but at times when one of the big benefits of these huge dams is in jeopardy, electricity generation, it seems that the problem could be reduced by keeping the water level in each reservoir at the mean generation capacity. In other words establish the level for each dam. Once established, the amount of water that goes in, goes out. Lake levels would stay constant until such time as evaporation exceeds inflows. As that too simple? Am I being stupid ?
 

John P Funk

Well-Known Member
As that too simple? Am I being stupid ?
I'm afraid that your plan is too simple, and very similar to the original compact of 1922, but I don't think you're stupid(merely uninformed). The lower basin was guaranteed 75 million acre feet in any 10 year period(7.5 MAF/year average), regardless of precipitation in upper basin states. This number was calculated on an estimated average inflow of 15 MAF into the basins. Unfortunately, that estimate was overly optimistic and the Upper Basin has been paying the price for that miscalculation in times of drought ever since. In theory, the upper states could supply 6 MAF one year and 9 MAF the next, but we would have to "know" that next year we could afford to release that much water. As a result of inconsistent inflows, USBR holds pretty close to the 7.5 MAF average for releases from Lake Powell(the boundary between the upper/lower basin).
 
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