Drought news: Upper Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District to develop drought plan #codrought

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From The Mountain Mail (Joe Stone):

Drought preparedness dominated discussion at the Thursday meeting of the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District board of directors, and directors agreed to develop a formal drought plan. Engineer Ivan Walter said, if the weather does not change, “it’s going to be harsher next year than anything we’ve ever seen.”

From 9News.com (Rose Heaphy):

The lack of moisture is not helping Colorado’s drought concerns as 25 percent of the state, all on the eastern side, is now listed at “exceptional” drought levels.

Ron Carleton from Colorado Department of Agriculture says the weather forecast for the upcoming months isn’t hopeful. “[The forecast] shows higher than average temperatures and lower than average precipitation,” Carleton said. “For most of Colorado, [the] drought is expected to persist or even intensify,” Carleton said. Carleton says in order for the state to recover from the drought, it would need to receive above average precipitation.

From 9News.com (Dave Delozier):

“Currently, our reservoirs are sitting at about 63 percent full and normally this time of year we’d see them at 80 percent,” Travis Thompson with Denver Water said. The hot and dry conditions that persisted through last year forced Denver Water to declare a stage one drought last spring. They asked customers to voluntarily cut back on water use. If conditions continue to worsen voluntary may become mandatory. “We’re working on what a stage two drought would look like right now and what that would look like for our customers,” Thompson said. “If we did go to stage two drought we would ask our customers to cut back their outdoor water use with mandatory water days and times.”

The concerns are not limited to Denver. In Northern Colorado the diminished status of water storage is also of grave concern. “Our storage is about 75 percent for what we would consider normal for this time of year. It’s looking pretty bad,” Dana Strongin with the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District said. The water storage levels have gotten so low there is concern about whether normal spring moisture will be enough to curb the drought conditions…

Strongin says while the prospects for a prolonged drought will have an impact on residential water users the impact on farmers will be significant. Last year’s drought placed many Colorado farms in a declared disaster situation. With water storage much lower this year going into the planting season it could be worse.

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