Wet spring still needed
Weekend snows helped, but they hardly heaped up hopes for an improved water outlook in the Colorado River Basin.
If anything, the storm underscored just how dry the winter has been.
“Seriously, what snowpack?” Colorado River Water Conservation District spokesman Chris Treese said when asked about early indications from weekend snows.
“This is bad. It may not be desperate — yet. We can still creep closer to normal, but it’s going to take a very wet spring, and that’s not the long-term forecast.”
The first look at new snowpack on Grand Mesa feeding Ute Water Conservancy District was marginally more encouraging.
Ute’s watershed reached 78 percent of average in the Mesa Lakes area and 72 percent of average at Park Reservoir, while the overall Colorado River Basin is at 78 percent of average, spokesman Joe Burtard said.
“While this snowstorm has helped our snowpack levels, it is still not enough to ease the concern of domestic water providers in the Grand Valley.
At this point, we will need an above-average snowpack by the time spring hits our mountains” in early April.
Rick Brinkman, water services manager for Grand Junction, said he noted about a foot of new snow atop the mesa over the weekend, but cautioned that little can be concluded for one or two months.
The city’s watershed was at 98 percent of normal snowpack at the beginning of February.
The Drought Response Information Program, a joint effort of water providers in the valley, is still gearing up for water restrictions, said Chairman Dave Reinertsen, also the assistant manager of Clifton Water District.