Another bad year on the Colorado?

2013-02-19T18:35:00Z 2013-02-20T15:47:53Z Another bad year on the Colorado?Tony Davis Arizona Daily Star
February 19, 2013 6:35 pm  • 

That's the most recent forecast for April-July runoff into Lake Powell, the hub for storage of Colorado River water heading into its Lower Basin, which includes Arizona.

The forecast for February from the federal government is for spring runoff at 54 percent of normal. In raw water numbers, that's 3.85 million acre feet. If that's the final figure, it would be the eighth lowest spring runoff on record.

Currently, snowpack in the Upper Colorado River Basin--which sends runoff into the river's tributaries that feed the river itself -- is 79 percent of normal, says Brenda Alcorn, senior hydrologist for the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center in Salt Lake City. Lake Powell straddles the Utah-Arizona border.

In 2012, runoff was even farther below normal -- 29 percent -- the third lowest runoff since Lake Powell was built in the 1960s.

That followed a near-record runoff in 2011. And that followed the dropping of Lake Mead at the Arizona-Nevada border in 2010 to its lowest level in two generations. 

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Star reporter Tony Davis covers topics in this blog that you have read under his byline for more than 30 years in the Southwest: water, growth, sprawl, pollution, climate change, endangered species, mining, grazing and traffic.

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