The early April weather pattern brought high winds and warmer weather to the Arkansas River Basin and did nothing to improve snowpack levels. The U.S. Drought Monitor shows moderate to severe drought conditions across the basin, little changed since last week. NOAA has not yet issued a new three-month temperature and precipitation outlook.
Colorado Snowpack Map for April 9
The latest snowpack data from the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) shows basin-wide snowpack at 97% of median, down from 98% a week ago. Snowpack at Porphyry Creek dropped from 121% to 98%, and at Saint Elmo, from 110% to 100%. The snowpack at Fremont Pass diminished from 92% to 85% during the past week. Snowpack at the Apishapa SNOTEL station reached 95% of median. Hayden Pass dropped slightly this week to 85%.
The NRCS Reservoir Storage Report has not yet been updated for the Arkansas Basin's major reservoirs. Current reservoir data from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation shows Pueblo Reservoir 70.1% full with plenty of capacity to accommodate the annual April 15 deadline for ensuring that that the reservoir has space available for flood control. Water stored in Pueblo Reservoir currently sits at 226,089 acre-feet.
Arkansas River flows are currently 119 cfs at Granite, 247 cfs at the Wellsville gauge downstream from Salida and 326 cfs at Cañon City. Below Pueblo Dam, flows are 199 cfs, 500 cfs near Avondale and 93.8 cfs near Rocky Ford. Below John Martin Reservoir flows have dropped to 0.08 cfs. At Lamar flows are currently 6.82 cfs.
Voluntary Flow Management Program
Flows at Wellsville are slightly below the target range of 250-400 cfs established by the Voluntary Flow Management Program for April 1 to May 15.
The Arkansas Basin currently has 11 active calls, six of which are on the mainstem, including the Lamar Canal with an 1875 priority date, the Fort Lyon Canal with an 1884 priority date and the Buffalo Canal with an 1885 priority date. Tributary calls include the Baca Irrigating Ditch with an 1862 priority date on the Purgatoire River, the Titsworth Ditch with an 1865 priority date on Fourmile Creek, the Gonzales Ditch with an 1866 priority date on the Apishapa River, and the May Ditch with an 1869 priority date on on the Huerfano River.