Your Watershed: Increasing Snowpack, Rising Temps, Decreasing River Flow

Photo: Carlye Calvin, NCAR OpenSky

Photo: Carlye Calvin, NCAR OpenSky

If you've been reading the news about the Colorado River and the Roaring Fork watersheds, I'm sure you have noticed that many articles highlight the increased snowpack, and unusually heavy, water-laden snow. But recently, a few articles cover climate change and explore how rising temperatures and early snowmelt-season can result in decreased flow in the Colorado River.

There is good news and bad news in the latest information, so let's navigate these waters together.

First, the good news: There is increased water in the snowpack for this year in our area. That means, not only do we have an increase in snowpack — 55 percent more than normal, according to the latest report from the Roaring Fork Conservancy — it also means more water in the snow than usually found. The light fluffy powder that Colorado is known for hasn't been as common this year.

Because of the increased water in the snowpack, we should anticipate a good year for water. New reports show, however, that might not be the case.      <READ MORE> 

From Your Watershed Column in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent