High good, low bad: Mead in March 2013

Posted on | April 1, 2013 | No Comments

colorado headwatersIt’s been a dry year. At the close of March 2013, according to the federal Bureau of Reclamation, Lake Mead, the largest storage reservoir on the Colorado River, stood at 52% full.

Reclamation assessments of the Colorado headwater region snowpack that will replenish Mead over the summer — not necessarily as fast as it is drained — vary between 61% to 77% of normal (top graphic).

Southern Californians might take comfort that a big slug of their water doesn’t come from the Colorado River, but an aqueduct run hundreds of miles north to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta.

Sierra snowpack

However, according to the California Department of Water Resources, the Sierra snowpack serving So Cal’s Bay Delta siphon is roughly half of normal (middle graphic).

So, might ask residents of the City of Los Angeles, who have a third source of imported water, what about the Owens Valley region snowpack serving the aqueduct that Mulholland built?

In March, accumulation of this Eastern Sierra supply dropped sharply below long-term means (bottom graphic).

Agency personnel and homeowners who capture local water in the LA basin might also feel shortchanged this year. Owens Valley snowpackRainfall here is running less than half of average across the basin and a third and more short in the foothills. 

For information about the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, click here, or visit Maven’s Notebook for inside water news and background and navigational help with copious documents. For Colorado River information for California, Nevada, Arizona and Mexico, click here, and here for Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado.

Double click on the graphics above to enlarge them.



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