How low will it go?

JFRCalifornia

Well-Known Member
OK water nerds, down in AZ and So Cal we’ve seemingly hit a dry patch weather-wise for the past month or so...how’s the Upper Basin doing and any revisions to the forecast low? (will the Cut remain open still?)...Thanks!
Yep, it's been a dry January in CA... clear and sunny looking out the window right now... but Upper Basin snowpack map shows slightly above average even now...

Bottom line is that the Cut is going to stay open no matter what happens with the remainder of the snow season, and will still likely bottom out somewhere in the 3595-3600 range. The big question is going to be how much of a recovery will happen after it hits bottom... USBR January forecast showed a likely high water mark of 3619... the Feb forecast should be out soon... stay tuned...
 

wayne gustaveson

Moderator
Staff member
There is a Big snowstorm in UT and Colorado today which will add to the snow pack. It will take more of these big snow events in March and April to bring the lake up another 50 feet as occurred in 2019. It is yet to be determined how much the lake will rise in 2020.

Currently the lake level is at 3605. Last February the elevation was 3575. We still have 30 extra feet in the lake ensuring that the Castle Rock Cut will remain open in spring of 2020.

Bring on the snow! Thanks Colorado, UT, WY and NM for sending snow our way.
 

Yos

Member
There is a Big snowstorm in UT and Colorado today which will add to the snow pack. It will take more of these big snow events in March and April to bring the lake up another 50 feet as occurred in 2019. It is yet to be determined how much the lake will rise in 2020.

Currently the lake level is at 3605. Last February the elevation was 3575. We still have 30 extra feet in the lake ensuring that the Castle Rock Cut will remain open in spring of 2020.

Bring on the snow! Thanks Colorado, UT, WY and NM for sending snow our way.
Unfortunately it looks as if most of this storm will end up in the Great Salt Lake
 
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PBR

Active Member
All of the snow reports are saying that we are at 110% of average, I do not know where they measure that from but in my opinion it is way off. I spend a lot of time in the back country during the winter and least where I live (the Roaring Fork Valley) we are below average. The water content of the snow is very low as well, it is just 4' of sugar with no moisture at all. This time last year it was 6' deep and hard is a rock all the way to the ground. Hoping for a good February and March.
 

Powder Hound

Active Member
All of the snow reports are saying that we are at 110% of average, I do not know where they measure that from but in my opinion it is way off. I spend a lot of time in the back country during the winter and least where I live (the Roaring Fork Valley) we are below average. The water content of the snow is very low as well, it is just 4' of sugar with no moisture at all. This time last year it was 6' deep and hard is a rock all the way to the ground. Hoping for a good February and March.
Have to agree with you on that. The Flattops snow level is half of last year although it has a good base in the top half and below is just sugar snow. Peter
 

flowerbug

Active Member
for those in the Lower Colorado River system check this graph out:




this is a significant change for the better. :) this will help a lot of people breath a bit easier (especially AZ).

i've been watching the Upper Colorado River snow pack levels and it is looking ok. we sure hope for some more snow storms to land there before the season is done. we have time.

people say all the snow may end up in Utah, but that is also a good thing as it takes some pressure off the Great Salt Lake and helps improve that area's water supplies.
 

Dorado

Well-Known Member
The snotel sites have been selected to give the best representation of the water content in each drainage. Some years they over represent the snowpack when lower areas are lacking in snow, but the higher areas, which is where most of the measurements are taken, have abundant snow. But the opposite can also be true. Here in the upper Green River drainage, a significant contributor to the Colorado River, there is abundant snow down low. This is not counted in the snowpack data, but ultimately contributes to the total discharge.

There is a lot of snow all across the upper Colorado drainages. If we have even an average year from here out, there will be a nice rise in Lake Powell. Tomorrow, when the snow from this storm is reflected in the snowpack data, it will rise. We should at least anticipate a good water year IMHO, unless a warm and dry long term pattern emerges over the next few months. More snow is forecast for the next week....
 

Pegasus

Well-Known Member
I flew low over the mountains of central and southern Utah and northern Arizona Sunday and this morning. The snowpack looks visibly thin compared to last year. Large open areas high in the mountains that in the past few years were covered in deep snow are covered with just a few inches of snow - sagebrush and weeds still visible. I'm guessing this would be the Escalante drainage but I'm not sure. The central mountains near Bryce Canyon seem visibly light on snowpack also. And the mountains around Flagstaff are nearly bare except for the main big mountain itself. This is all anecdotal, but it seems very obvious that in these areas snowpack is below average.
 
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flowerbug

Active Member
i sure hope this weather pattern shifts soon and we can get some nice big snowfalls in the Upper Colorado River Basin. the CA snow pack is looking weaker the past few weeks too. good thing they've got a pretty good water level in a lot of reservoirs already.

*keeps the popcorn handy*
 

airford1

Well-Known Member
California is pushing for High density housing and Mass transit for the near future without any plans for the way we use our water. Future doesn't look good. P.s. It aint going to rain much more this year in California, Just saying.
 

JFRCalifornia

Well-Known Member
California is pushing for High density housing and Mass transit for the near future without any plans for the way we use our water. Future doesn't look good. P.s. It aint going to rain much more this year in California, Just saying.
Well, I just don't think that entire statement is true, although I could be missing something of course. It is true that at the state level, California policies encourage mass transit and high density housing, and there are incentives to local governments to build projects consistent with those ideas. But ultimately, it's really up to local governments to figure out what they want to do. And except for the larger cities in the state, things like rail-based mass transit are not even on the radar of local communities--it's universally recognized by local government that these are impractical and cost-prohibitive for smaller communities. As for higher density housing, that's more a function of trying to build affordable housing on less land, not so much of trying to expand the population capacity of cities. The fact is that California's annual growth rate--which last year was 0.35%--is now the slowest it's been since 1900!! Yes, the population is 40 million, but it's not growing much, and that's mostly because it's just not affordable here.

As for water, it's part of state environmental law that any residential project of 500 units or more must be able to demonstrate that it has adequate water supply to sustainably support that development. And smaller projects need to copy with local General Plans--which are supported by water supply assessments--to show that the project is consistent with those plans. These days there are no projects in California allowed to move forward without demonstrating water supply availability. And in general, new projects need to incorporate all kinds of things to minimize water demand--low flow plumbing, drip irrigation, drought-tolerant landscaping, etc... Per capita water use among California residents is lower than most western states, notably Utah and Arizona...

California's water use is largely driven by agriculture. Irrigated ag accounts for something like 80-85% of all water used in the state, and so that's the real issue... if we all stop buying and eating things like almonds, berries, lettuce, etc, it would make a difference, but people like to eat those things.

But you're right about rain in CA this year...after a promising start in December, it's been bone dry...
 

Rivergoer

Well-Known Member
Sadly, here’s California’s water saving solution for the I-10 rest stop just east of Coachella. And no, this isn’t for construction or remodeling.

There are billions for a bullet train to nowhere while existing sanitation facilities have regressed 100 years.

But back on topic...super glad to hear the Cut will be open for our trip in a couple of weeks and stoked about the big storms up in the Rockies, keep it coming!

DD1147E3-DCB9-4232-BA12-73C57F592EE2.jpeg96BB89ED-6645-4E56-8763-7B4BC4EA0809.jpeg
 

dlandon

Well-Known Member
Snowpack looking OK so far, but not great. We are about at the same SWE today as we were last year at this time, then the heaven opened up for us during Feb/Mar/Apr/May. Let's hope for the same this year.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EQhO84lUEAAxNz1.jpg
Interesting to see the difference. This report suggests more:
1581486589223.png
 

Dorado

Well-Known Member
Interesting to see the difference. This report suggests more:
View attachment 6916
Maybe in Utah alone, but most of the water in LP comes from Wyoming and Colorado. 115% of average today, which as Pegasus noted, is almost exactly the same as it was on this date last year. No big storms coming it appears, so it looks like we will start lagging behind last year for a while...... At least we are above average!
 
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