Thanks to Snowy March, the ‘Drought is Over’ in Gunnison County
As of April 10, the NRCS reports that snowpack in the Gunnison Basin is at 142% of normal and more than double what it was at this time last year. On April 2, Frank Kugel, general manager of the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District (UGRWCD), declared that Gunnison County is officially no longer in a drought, according to the Colorado drought monitor. Blue Mesa Reservoir is expected to fill “to approximately seven-eighths of capacity” according to Kugel. In January, the reservoir was just eight feet above its 1977 all-time low of 7,438 ft. A snowy March delivered enough precipitation to change the outlook for the summer.
Despite the optimistic precipitation and snowpack data, drought is a regular condition in Colorado and the arid west.
In fact, some regions in southern and western Colorado continue to experience “abnormal dry conditions” and “moderate drought” as shown in the April 9 2019 map shown below; careful water use and conservation is encouraged – drought is a matter of “when not if”.
Adapted from The Crested Butte News