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May 1 Water Talks - Dr. Terry Fulp
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May 1 Water Talks - Dr. Terry Fulp

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Dr. Terry Fulp of the Bureau of Reclamation provides an overview of the river and potential challenges the river may face in the future. Part of the Water Authority's May 1 Water Talks event: The …

Dr. Terry Fulp of the Bureau of Reclamation provides an overview of the river and potential challenges the river may face in the future. Part of the Water Authority's May 1 Water Talks event: The Colorado River and its Future

Published in: News & Politics, Travel, Sports

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  • 1. The Colorado River and its FutureSan Diego County Water AuthorityWater TalksMay 1, 2012
  • 2. The Colorado River and its FutureOutline • Background • Coordinated operation of Lake Powell and Lake Mead • Current state of the system • Looking ahead
  • 3. Colorado River Basin Background 14 % Summary Points: 7.5 maf 51.75 % • System is over-allocated 23 % • Hydrology is highly 0.050 maf variable and storage 0.3 maf 11.25 % capacity is critical 7.5 maf 2.8 maf • System is operated on a4.4 maf tight margin 1.5 maf
  • 4. Historical Colorado River Water Supply & Use(Annual)
  • 5. Major UpperUpper BasinBasin Reservoirs Flaming Gorge Aspinall Navajo Glen Canyon
  • 6. Major Lower Basin Reservoirs Hoover Dam Davis Dam Parker Dam
  • 7. Lake Powell and Lake Mead Percent of Live Capacity Lake Mead began to fill Lake Powell began to fill 110% Both reservoirs in April 1936 and first in June 1963 and first filled to 100% capacity filled to 100% capacity began WY 2000 100% in July 1941 in June 1980 at 95% capacity 90% 80%Percent of Capacity 70% 60% 50% 40% During the 2000s drought, Lake Powell declined to elevation 3,555.1 ft, or 33% 30% During the 1950s drought, capacity, in April 2005 Lake Mead declined to a low 20% elevation of 1,083.2 ft, or 40% capacity, in April 1956 During the 2000s drought, Lake Mead declined to 10% elevation 1,081.9 ft, or 38% capacity, in November 2010 0% January 1937 - March 2012 Mead Percent of Capacity Powell Percent of Capacity
  • 8. Water Budget at Lake Mead  Inflow = 9.0 maf (release from Powell + side inflows)  Outflow = - 9.6 maf (AZ, CA, NV, and Mexico delivery + downstream regulation and gains/losses)  Mead evaporation losses = - 0.6 maf  Balance = - 1.2 mafGiven basic apportionments in the Lower Basin, theallotment to Mexico, and an 8.23 maf release from LakePowell, Lake Mead storage declines about 12 feet each year
  • 9. Interim Guidelines for Operation of LakePowell and Lake Mead • Key provisions: – Operation for Lake Powell and Lake Mead is specified throughout the full range of operation – Strategy for shortages in the Lower Basin is specified, including a provision for additional shortages if warranted – Mechanism (Intentionally Created Surplus or ICS) is established to encourage efficient and flexible water use in the Lower Basin • In place for an interim period (through 2026) • Do not include provisions for Mexico
  • 10. Intentionally Created Surplus (ICS) • ICS may be created through a variety of measures • There is a 5% “system assessment” when ICS is created (except for system efficiency projects) • ICS balance subject to 3% annual evaporation loss each year after creation • Delivery of ICS may occur Warren H. Brock Storage Reservoir in years after creation
  • 11. Colorado River Basin Storage(as of April 29, 2012) Percent Elevation Current Storage MAF Full (Feet) Lake Powell 64% 15.51 3,636 Lake Mead 54% 14.00 1,124 Total System 62% 37.19 NA Storage**Total system storage was 31.57 maf or 53% this time last year
  • 12. 2012 Upper Colorado Forecasted Apr–Jul Inflow1 as of April 16 Flaming Gorge – 80% Blue Mesa – 47% Navajo – 57% Lake Powell – 46%1 Percent of average is based on the period of record from 1981-2010.
  • 13. Water Year Snowpack and Precipitation as of April 30, 2012 Colorado River Basin above Lake Powell Chart developed with Snotel data as of 4/30/2012 Water Year Precipitation1 (year-to-date) 77% Current Snowpack1 29% Source: CBRFC1 Percent of average is based on the period of record from 1971-2000.
  • 14. State of the System (Water Years 1999-2012)1 Unregulated Inflow into Lake Powell Powell-Mead Storage and Percent Capacity 50 100% 45 90% 40 80% 35 70% Percent Capacity 30 60% Volume in MAF 25 50% 20 40% 15 139% 30% 10 109% 104% 102% 20% 88% 71% 70% 73% 5 62% 59% 61% 10% 52% 49% 0 25% 0% 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 End of Water Year 2 Powell and Mead Storage (MAF) Unregulated Inflow into Powell (MAF) Powell and Mead Percent Capacity1 Values for water year 2012 are projected. Unregulated inflow is based on the latest CBRFC forecast. Storage and percent capacity are based onthe April 2012 24-Month Study.2Percentages at the top of the light blue bars represent percent of average unregulated inflow into Lake Powell for a given water year. Water years1999-2011 are based on the 30-year average from 1971 to 2000. Water year 2012 is based on the 30-year average from 1981-2010.
  • 15. Historical and Projected Colorado River WaterSupply & Use
  • 16. Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study• Study Objectives • Assess future water supply and demand imbalances through 2060 • Assess risks to basin resources • Develop/evaluate options and strategies for resolving imbalances• Email: ColoradoRiverBasinStudy@usbr.gov• Website:http://www.usbr.gov/lc/region/programs/ crbstudy.html• A planning study – will not result in any decisions, but will provide the technical foundation for future activities
  • 17. The Colorado River and its Future For further information:http://www.usbr.gov/lc/region