Two recent articles, from Telluride News and from the Delta County Independent, highlighting the situation and the seriousness of drought in our region:
Southwest Colorado is in for a challenging year and in uncharted territory, water-wise. That’s the professional opinion of Bob Hurford, P.E., the Colorado Division of Water Resources Engineer for Division 4, which consists of the Gunnison, Dolores and San Miguel river basins.
Hurford’s general sentiment about this year’s drought was shared by all who presented reports at the Ouray State of the Rivers meeting at the Ouray County 4H Event Center May 16. The presentations came two weeks after Gov. John Hickenlooper activated the Colorado Drought Mitigation and Response Plan for the agricultural sector in 34 of the state’s 64 counties, including San Miguel, Ouray, Montrose, and Delta counties. The Colorado River District scheduled the meeting before the governor’s declaration in order to present snowpack and runoff data as well as activity updates from water officials for the Ouray area.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated Delta and Montrose counties in Colorado as primary natural disaster areas due to losses and damages caused by a recent drought. The designation follows a similar announcement for Mesa County.
Farmers and ranchers in the contiguous counties of Gunnison, Mesa, Ouray and San Miguel in Colorado also qualify for natural disaster assistance.
Farmers and ranchers in the contiguous counties of Grand and San Juan in Utah also qualify for natural disaster assistance.