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Full text of "Federal-state cooperative snow surveys and irrigation water forecasts for Missouri and Arkansas drainage basins"

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" Welcome Shelter Near Trail's End " 

FEDERAL-STATE COOPERATIVE 

SNOW SURVEYS AND IRRIGATION WATER FORECASTS 

for 



COLORADO RIVER DRAINAGE BASIN 

APRIL.1,1947 

By 

Division of Irrigation, Soil Conservation Service 
United States Department of Agriculture 
and 

Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station 



Data included in this report were obtained by the agencies named above in 
cooperation with the U. S. Forest Service, National Park Service, State Engineers 
of Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico and other Federal, State and local 
organizations. 



April 1, 19^7 
WATER SUPPLY OUTLOOK 



COLORADO RIVER DRAINAGE 



It is estimated that the April -September flow of the Colorado 
River into Lake Mead will he near the past 10 --year average. 

Snow cover on the headwaters of the Colorado River and its 
tributaries in Colorado, as shown by April 1 snow surveys, is well 
above normal and much above April 1, 19^6. Hovover, the water 
supply situation on streams originating in southwestern Colorado 
is not so favorable. The flow of the Animas River will be normal 
but the flow of the San Juan and Dolores Rivers will be decidedly 
deficient. Recent precipitation has ranged from above normal in 
northern Colorado to a substantial deficiency in the south. On 
the Green River watershed in Wyoming runoff estimates have declined 
during the past month to 95 percent of last year's flow. Drought 

| conditions continue in Arizona and western New Mexico. 

j Precipitation there has been subnormal and no snow is reported. 

| Reservoir storage is low. 

C0L0RAR0 RIYER AND 
TRIBUTARIES IN COLORADO 

Colorado River (Above Grand Junction) . Snow cover on the Colorado River 
watershed above Grand Junction is now 116 percent of normal and kO percent 
greater than a year ago. The increment of snow near the Continental Divide 
has been high during March, although the increase has been general over the 
whole watershed including lower areas. The water supply outlook is much im- 
proved over March 1. Precipitation in the valley areas and stream flow are- 
above normal. Range and crop conditions appear good for the coming year. 

Gunnison River . The summer flow of the Gunnison will be nearly twice as great 
as last year. Average snow water content on the watershed is now slightly 
above average and oO percent over April 1, 19^-6. Precipitation at medium 
and lower elevations is reported as poor and irrigation is necessary to start 
crops on the Uncompahgre project. Stream flow in the Gunnison has been above 
normal, while on the Uncompahgre it is somewhat deficient. Storage in Taylor 
Park Reservoir is now 70,100 acre-feet, as compared to 84,500 on April 1, 19^6. 

Yempa and White Rivers . Snow on the watershed of the Yampa River is now above 
normal and 18 percent above last year. This area has had more than adequate 
precipitation throughout the winter season and the summer flow of this stream 
should be well above average. Spring flow is already high due to low snow 
melt. The snow cover on the headwaters of the White River is similar to that 
of the Yampa except that the situation is more favorable. The snow water con- 
tent is kb percent over a year ago. Range and crop conditions in the Meeker area 
are reported as good. The summer discharge of the Elk and Little Snake Rivers 
is estimated to be near average and a little higher than last' year. 

_1_ 

Miscellaneous Series Paper No. 368, Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station 



San Juan and Animas Rivers . During the month of March a decided deficiency in 
snow cover developed on the headwaters of the San Juan River. The snow water 
content on the Upper San Juan courses is practically the same as on March 1, 
reflecting the general snow condition in that area. The situation is considerably 
"better than last year, hut the discharge of the San Juan at Rosa, New Mexico,, 
is estimated not to exceed 65 percent of normal. On the Los Pinos River the 
low snow is gone hut Vallecito Reservoir now ho Ida in storage 60,000 acre -feet 
as compared to 41,000 April 1, 1946. On the Animas River the snow cover is 
much better than on the San Juan . The snow water content measured at snow 
courses at Silverton and Cascade now average over six inches as compared 
to one inch a year ago. The flow of the Animas at Durago is expected to he 
about normal and nearly twice as much as for the 1946 season. Precipitation 
in the valley areas has been deficient and soil moisture conditions are re- 
ported as fair to good. 

Dolores River . As in other areas in southwestern Colorado the snow cover on 
the Dolores River watershed is deficient. The snow water content is especially 
low at medium elevations. The discharge of this stream will probably not 
exceed 70 percent of normal. However, the flow will exceed that of last 
season. The surface soil is reported as dry and the ranges are in poor condi- 
tion at lower elevations. Stream flow is normal due to early melting. There 
are 8,00C acre-feet in storage in both Groundhog and Narraquinepp Reservoirs. 

GREEN RIVER IN WYOMING 

The estimates of summer discharge from the Green River watershed in Wyoming 
have been revised downward slightly, based on recent snow surveys and sub- 
normal precipitation at lower elevations. The average snow water content is 
six percent below normal and about the same amount under April 1, 1946. Due 
to above average precipitation earlier in the winter season soil moisture 
conditions are above normal and the range outlook is favorable. Stream flow 
is above average. There is no snow in valley areas and snow is melting fast 
in the foothills. The discharge of the Green River at Linwood, Utah is ex- 
pected to be 1,100,000 acre -feet during the April to September period. In 
Utah the snow cover on Green River tributaries is about average. 

COLORADO" RI7ER AND 

TRIBUTARIES IN ARIZONA 

The drought condition of the past winter season in Arizona was continued 
through March. There has been no snow reported as of April 1 on any of the 
established courses on the watershed of the Gila, Salt, Little Colorado and 
Williams Rivers. Precipitation throughout the winter has been definitely 
sub -normal and recent precipitation has been negligible. The flow of the Gila 
River is extremely low. Soil moisture conditions are poor. Ranges are dry 
and in poor condition. Storage in the four major reservoirs on the Salt River 
is now 408,000 acre -feet, as compared with 645,000 a year ago. In San 
Carlos Reservoir, on the Gila River, there is now in storage 13,000 acre- 
feet. Last year on April 1 it was 26,000 and the ten -year average is 305,000. 

The storage in Lake Mead is 16,383,000 acre -feet, or 1,300,000 acre- 
feet under April 1, 1946. 



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The following organizations cooperate in the snow surveys and irrigation 
water supply forecasts for the Colorado, Missouri -Arkansas and Rio 
Grande watersheds by furnishing funds or services. 



STATE 

Colorado State Engineer 
Wyoming State Engineer 
Utah State Engineer 
New Mexico State Engineer 
Montana State Engineer 
Nebraska State Engineer 
Colorado Experiment Station 
Colorado Extension Service 
Montana Experiment Station 
Utah Experiment Station 
FEDERAL 

Department of Agriculture 

Forest Service 

Soil Conservation Service 
Department of Interior 

Bureau of Reclamation 

Indian Service 

Geological Survey 

National Park Service 
Department of Commerce 

Weather Bureau 
War Department 

Army Engineer Corps 
PUBLIC UTILITIES 

Colorado Public Service Company 
Western Colorado Power Company 
Montana Power Company 

Denver and Rio Grande Western R. R: Company 
MUNICIPALITIES 

City of Bozeman 

City of Denver 

City of Boulder 
WATER USERS ORGANIZATIONS 

Poudre Valley Water Users ' Association 

Arkansas Valley Ditch Association 

Colorado River Water Conservation District 
IRRIGATION PROJECTS 

Farmers Reservoir and Irrigation Company 

San Luis Valley Irrigation District 

Santa Maria Reservoir Company 

Costilla Land Company 

Uncompahgre Valley Water Users' Association 

Wyoming Development Company 

Goshen Irrigation District 

Kendrick Project 

Pathfinder Irrigation District 

Salt River Valley Water Users' Association 

San Carlos Irrigation and Drainage District 

Twin Lakes Reservoir and Canal Company 



Many other organizations and individuals furnish valuable information for 
the snow survey reports. Their cooperation is gratefully acknowledged.