Snow Pack Increases, While Colorado River Levels Remain Low
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - As the Grand Valley is anticipating a few more winter storms, officials are hoping it will add to some of the positive numbers they received from their last snow survey.
The numbers are in for January and Grand Junction water officials say that the snow depth and water content has actually raised to 98 percent of average, while the rest of the state is sitting around 74 percent of average.
It's something many of us take for granted.
"We're incredible dependent on water," said Bruce Talbot of Talbot Farms.
After last summer's drought, water officials were hoping snow pack over the winter would help us out in 2013 and new data shows a positive trend.
"Data shows that currently we are at 98 percent of snow depth for this time of year and 98 percent of water content in the snow," said Rick Brinkman, Water Services Manager for the city of Grand Junction.
That's good news for residential water users that get their water from the snow pack gathered on the Grand Mesa, but the same can't be said for others.
"Our water supply for the irrigation comes from the Colorado River," said Max Schmidt, Manager of Orchard Mesa Irrigation.
Orchard mesa Irrigation serves more than 6,000 users and so far their water levels aren't looking good.
"It's lower than last year, last year was 2012. That was a drought. It's lower than 2002, that was the previous drought," said Schmidt.
Fortunately, Colorado water rights will secure enough water for users come the warmer months in 2013, but even then, farmers like Talbot say sometimes it's just not the same.
"Our water quality goes down anytime the river is really low and there's more of the hot springs and some of these salt sources that give us a lot more calcium carbonate," said Talbot.
Water officials say even though it's the winter, any water saved now is water that can be reserved for spring.
"Use your water properly, if we take care of the water there's enough for everybody," said Schmidt.
Officials also say that March is usually the wettest month on the Western Slope, so they'll have a better idea of a future drought possibility right before the irrigation canals are re-opened in April.