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Thu May 13, 2021, 09:39 AM

No "Miracle May" For Colorado Basin In 2021; Apr-Jul Fed Forecast For Powell Inflow 28% Of Average

The Colorado River Basin appears to be out of miracles this spring. Five years after a “Miracle May” of record rainfall staved off what had appeared to be the river’s first imminent shortage in water deliveries, the hope for another in 2021 “is fading quickly,” says the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center’s latest report, released Thursday.

That’s one more piece of bad news for the Central Arizona Project. A first-time shortage is now likely to slash deliveries of river water to Central Arizona farmers starting in 2022 but won’t affect drinking water supplies for Tucson, Phoenix and other cities, or for tribes and industries that get CAP water.

Federal forecasts for spring-summer runoff into Lake Powell plunged this week, predicting the third-lowest such flows on record into the big reservoir at the Arizona-Utah border. The river forecast center predicts that runoff into Powell from April through July will be 28% of average, down from a 45% projection in its April forecast. The difference in these forecasts amounts to 1.2 million acre feet of lost water. That’s about nine months worth of CAP supplies in a normal year.


Grim outlook for Lake Mead

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, in its latest forecast that looks 24 months ahead, predicted on April 15 that the “most probable” scenario for Lake Mead is for it to stand at 1,067 feet at the end of December. If that forecast holds through the rest of the year, the federal government will declare its first round of significant, mandatory cutbacks of water deliveries for the CAP. That’s what it’s supposed to do when Lake Mead falls below 1,075 feet at the end of a year. Such a shortage, cutting deliveries to Arizona by 520,000 acre-feet, or nearly one-third of total CAP supplies, would particularly strike at Pinal County farmers. They would lose most of their CAP supplies next year and would lose their entire supply in 2022 should Lake Mead fall far enough over the next year. Until now, the state has only been sustaining cuts of 192,000 acre-feet per year in CAP deliveries.



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Reply No "Miracle May" For Colorado Basin In 2021; Apr-Jul Fed Forecast For Powell Inflow 28% Of Average (Original post)
hatrack May 13 OP
mopinko May 13 #1

Response to hatrack (Original post)

Thu May 13, 2021, 11:06 AM

1. rainfall here in chicago is sucking AGAIN this year.

last year i got about 6" of rain. i'm close to lake mich, and at a spot where rain systems sorta bounce off the lake air. they take a hard right, and i am lucky to get good rain in a good year.
so far this spring it's been about 2".

luckily i have lake mich water. but it's hard to make up that kind of deficit w sprinklers.

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