- About WIP
- Participating Entities
- Animas-La Plata Water Conservancy District
- City of Durango Water Commission
- Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority
- Dolores Conservation District
- Dolores Water Conservancy District
- Empire Electric Association
- Florida Water Conservancy District
- La Plata Archuleta Water District
- La Plata Electric Association
- La Plata Water Conservancy District
- Mancos Conservation District
- Mancos Water Conservancy District
- Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD)
- Pine River Irrigation District
- San Juan Water Conservancy District
- Southwestern Water Conservation District
- U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
- Regional Water Projects
- Animas River Stakeholders
- Animas-La Plata Project
- Cloud Seeding Program
- Dolores Project (McPhee Reservoir)
- Dry Gulch Reservoir (Pending)
- Florida Project (Lemon Reservoir)
- Jackson Gulch Reservoir
- Long Hollow Reservoir
- Pine River Project (Vallecito Reservoir)
- Rio Blanco Restoration Project
- River Protection Work Group
- UMETCO (Urivan) Water Rights
- Water Information
- Contact WIP
The bright green alfalfa fields appear like a surreal oasis tucked into the rolling hills of desert shrubbery that extend south as far as the eye can see. Here, 12 miles southwest of Towaoc, the Ute Mountain Ute Farm & Ranch Enterprise cultivates 7,600 acres of farmland thanks to a ribbon of water that flows south from McPhee Reservoir 50 miles to the north.
The Dolores Water Conservancy District took a small step this month toward determining whether a large hydroelectric plant could be built at Plateau Creek, a tributary of McPhee Reservoir.
Area boaters have come to terms with the fact that another dry year has dashed any chance for rafting on the lower Dolores River this summer. But revised runoff forecasts and precipitation reports are predicting a situation for farmers and local fish populations that just keeps getting worse.
With persistent drought conditions across Colorado and low reservoir levels in the southwest, water resource managers are looking at a potentially long and arid summer. Following a dry 2012, the warmest year on record, reservoir levels were already on the low side. Reservoir storage exactly one year ago sat at 104 percent of average, which helped the area get through late summer shortages.
When a wildfire suddenly broke out last Friday in Lory State Park, west of Fort Collins, Coloradans breathed an anxious, collective sigh: not again. The early season blaze stirred unpleasant memories of last year's trying fire season, which scorched about 385,000 acres in the state, according to the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control.
Low levels at McPhee Reservoir have U.S. Forest Service officials concerned over more than just the area's water supply. Off-road enthusiasts drawn to the mud flats left behind by the receding waterline are threatening sensitive ecosystems and archaeological resources normally protected beneath the surface of the reservoir.
The Dolores River looks a bit low this year, along with McPhee Reservoir, but things have been worse. The Dolores River is flowing at around 20 cubic feet per second. But it has been lower, said Mike Preston, manager of the Dolores Water Conservancy District. Preston estimated that it's at the third lowest level ever.
Withered crops and steep hay prices. Underwhelmed river guides. Overworked firefighters. Neighborhood visits from hungry, foraging bears. Drought conditions have thrown the rhythms and daily routines off kilter for many Colorado subgroups in 2012, including aquatic species.
The Narraguinep Reservoir is at its lowest point in 10 years, but there is enough water to supply irrigation needs for the rest of the season. That’s the word from Don Magnuson, general manager for the Montezuma Valley Irrigation Co. On Thursday, Magnuson said the reservoir was at a depth of 20 feet and held more than 1,000 acre-feet of water.
If you haven’t been to McPhee Reservoir lately, prepare to walk a bit longer to get to the water. The water is low and it will get lower, according to Mike Preston, manager of the Dolores Water Conservancy District. A dry winter and high irrigation demand continues to cause water to drop in McPhee. “It’s going to come down another 24 feet,” Preston said.