Using data from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, we track the snow water equivalent in Colorado and other western areas to get a sense of next year’s runoff, groundwater recharge, and potential water supply.
Above is a summary of the SNOTEL data available as of January 18, 2016. Above average snow water equivalent (SWE) conditions continue for a large portion of the western United States, which is being attributed to the El Niño conditions in the Pacific Ocean. Notably, the Sierra SWE in eastern California has improved dramatically.
Colorado’s SWE, as a percent of median, is near or above average for this date. All SNOTEL sites in the San Miguel, Dolores, Animas, and San Juan River basins are above average, and the basin as a whole is at 119 percent of average. The Wolf Creek SNOTEL site officially has the highest SWE content in Colorado right now with 19.5 inches. Meteorologists are anticipating an active weather pattern for remainder of the month, which will bring more snow to portions of Colorado.
by Diana Chumney, Office Manager || Bikis Water Consultants