December 21, 2011--Sierra snow drought could be one for record books (USA Today)

The situation couldn't be more different from this time last year, when the Lake Tahoe Basin's snowpack was at more than twice the normal levels. On Tuesday, Tahoe's snowpack was 10 percent of average. The situation not only affects the ski slopes but also the water supply. Dry western states' primary source of water all year is snow melt.

December 21, 2011--Colorado statewide snowpack well below average (Denver Post)

Colorado's snowpack level is lagging the historical average, despite a recent snowstorm. On Tuesday, the statewide snowpack was 77 percent of the 30-year average for the date. Snowpack in several river basins is below average, although the Upper Rio Grande in southern Colorado is at 104 percent of average. Melting snow from the mountains provides much of water in the state's waterways.

November 25, 2011--Colorado Farm Bureau votes in favor of giving state engineer more flexibility (Windsor Now)

Marc Arnusch sees no need to downplay the significance of the water rights policy. “We took the most powerful step on water we’ve made in a while,” the Weld County farmer said earlier this week, referring to the Colorado Farm Bureau supporting a policy that would give more flexibility to the Office of the State Engineer in controlling the state’s water resources.

July 23, 2011--SNOTEL site may improve water forecasts (Cortez Journal)

Each spring, water officials in Montezuma County play a guessing game with Mother Nature. The game is centered around water and goes a little something like this: "When will the snow start to melt? When will McPhee Reservoir start to fill? How much water will be part of this year's runoff?" The game is also played by others in the region.

July 21, 2011--More water to flow for Rio Grande Compact (Pueblo Chieftain)

A bigger than expected spring runoff has led state water officials to increase the amount of water to be sent downstream under the Rio Grande Compact. The adjustment, which came in part because of a high-elevation snowpack that eluded runoff forecasts, means irrigation ditches on the Rio Grande and Conejos rivers will face increased curtailments.

July 21, 2011--A paradox for the west's plumbing system: Flood on the top, drought on the bottom (New York Times)

The Colorado River has a long journey. It flows from mountains, runs by cities, winds through remote, rust-colored canyons and touches seven states before entering Mexico. It's a natural wonder, but also a life source of the more than 30 million people who rely on it. But in recent years, the Colorado River has become less reliable.

Colorado River Shortages Deferred to at Least 2015

While above average snowpack in parts of the West has given states in the Colorado River basin some relief from drought, water officials caution there's still work to do to keep water running in the future.

June 12, 2011--CU study: Pine beetles may affect snowpack, melt (Summit Voice)

A new University of Colorado Boulder study indicates the infestation of trees by mountain pine beetles in the High Country across the West could potentially trigger earlier snowmelt and increase water yields from snowpack that accumulates beneath affected trees.

June 12, 2011--Colorado: Feds give $3 million for emergency flood aid (Summit Voice)

Ranchers dealing with the effects of the heavy spring runoff this year may get a little extra help from the federal government, as Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing $3 million in Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program funds to five western states where record mountain snowpack presents a potential flood risk.

Syndicate content