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drought

Colorado is expecting another explosive wildfire year, but the state may be more prepared this time

The state’s Wildfire Preparedness Plan, released Thursday, notes that even as 2021 is shaping up to repeat the chaos of last year, agencies are collaborating more and have better support.

Wildfire

Study: Drought-breaking rains more rare, erratic in Colorado and the West

The consequences of the intense dry periods that pummeled the Rocky Mountains and the Colorado Plateau were severe — more intense and dangerous wildfires, parched croplands and not enough vegetation to support livestock and wildlife. And it's getting worse.

Environment
Sunrise brings mist and fog to Blue Mesa Reservoir near Gunnison, Colorado on January 22, 2021. According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the statewide snowpack is currently at 73 percent of normal and the Gunnison Basin is at 50-70% of normal. Such low amounts of snow may create drought conditions. Blue Mesa is Colorado’s 2nd largest reservoir was formed by Blue Mesa Dam, is a 390-foot-tall earthen fill dam across the Gunnison River near Gunnison, Colorado, completed in 1966 by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation as part of the Colorado River Storage Project. The Colorado River Storage Project was created to manage the Colorado River, provide water storage, flood control and create hydroelectric power. Blue Mesa Reservoir is approximately 30 miles long with 96 miles of shoreline and spreads over 14 square miles in area. The reservoir can hold 940,700 acre feet of water. The Gunnison River is the Colorado River's 5th largest tributary. (Dean Krakel, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Big March storms helped boost Colorado’s snowpack, but they weren’t enough to solve the long-term drought

Many of the major river basins are at or above average, but surveyors are worried that drought conditions won't improve

Environment

Colorado’s major snowstorm only made a dent in the drought. These maps and graphs explain what’s going on.

The South Platte and Arkansas river basins are closer to average after last week’s precipitation, but the Western Slope remains painfully dry.

Climate

Western states chart diverging paths as Colorado River water shortages loom

Republican lawmakers in Utah approved an entity that could push for more of their state's share of Colorado River water as seven Western states, including Colorado, prepare to negotiate how to sustain a river serving 40 million people.

Environment

Recent snowstorms are barely scratching the surface of Colorado’s ongoing drought

The state needed an above-average snow year this winter to reverse the drought’s momentum. Forecasts for the next few months aren’t optimistic, either.

Environment

Estimates of future Upper Colorado River Basin water use confound planning, report shows

Maybe it's time to give up on developing new Upper Basin projects, the Center for Colorado River Studies says, after all demand has been flat for three decades.

Climate

Colorado’s Water Plan has made progress toward ensuring supply, but the work’s far from done

Five years in, accelerating climate change and rapid population growth, not to mention a shortage of funding, have made the Colorado Water Plan's vision for the future more complex.

Environment

Climate change ravaged Colorado and the West with heat and drought in 2020. This year may be worse.

Coloradans also can look out their windows and see the “snow drought” forecasters are talking about when they say snow cover in the West is the worst it has been at any time in the last two decades.

Environment
Blue Mesa is Colorado’s 2nd largest reservoir was formed by Blue Mesa Dam, is a 390-foot-tall earthen fill dam across the Gunnison River near Gunnison, Colorado, completed in 1966 by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation as part of the Colorado River Storage Project. The Colorado River Storage Project was created to manage the Colorado River, provide water storage, flood control and create hydroelectric power. Blue Mesa Reservoir is approximately 30 miles long with 96 miles of shoreline and spreads over 14 square miles in area. The reservoir can hold 940,700 acre feet of water. The Gunnison River is the Colorado River's 5th largest tributary. Ice fishermen standing on the ice of Blue Mesa Reservoir beneath the Dillon Pinnacles give a sense of scale to Blue Mesa reservoir near Gunnison, Colorado on January 22, 2021. Normally the landscape around Blue Mesa is buried under deep snow. According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the statewide snowpack is currently at 73 percent of normal and the Gunnison Basin is at 50-70% of normal. Such low amounts of snow may create drought conditions. (Dean Krakel, Special to The Colorado Sun)

14 Front Range cities coordinate to warn of water shortages in alarmingly dry year

Cities are watching snowpack and reservoir storage closely. The district serving Highlands Ranch says its reservoirs are 25% less full than is normal for this time of year.

Climate

Colorado’s ornery, independent water guardians finally agree on one thing: Wall Street can look elsewhere

It’s rare to see Front Range water managers like Denver Water and Northern Water joining counterparts on the Western Slope

Environment

Record low Lake Powell and bad 2021 drought forecast sets stage for water cuts

The Bureau of Reclamation’s dire projections for Colorado River Basin reservoirs for the first time triggers drought contingency planning across seven basin states.

Climate

Colorado governor releases final plan to reduce emissions by 90%. It’s still too vague, environmentalists say.

The Air Quality Control Commission is responsible for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from millions of vehicles and industrial and office buildings

Environment

Colorado’s statewide drought “pretty dire.” It’ll take more than a season’s snowfall to get out of it.

Rehydrating would require at least 10 to 20 inches of good precipitation in the next 6 months, but this season's snow totals are already well behind normal.

Environment

Opponents refuse to play on Branson’s hardscrabble football field. Now the town needs a(nother) miracle.

Can the small Colorado school district find a way to install a $400,000 artificial turf facility? History says don’t count them out.

Coloradans

Opinion: Colorado’s intensifying drought conditions call for urgent collaboration

Opinion Columns

Colorado activates municipal drought response for second time ever as water forecast worsens

Several cities say they are preparing for what is almost certainly going to be a dangerously dry 2021

Environment

Opinion: Protecting rivers is key to preparing Colorado for wildfires

Opinion Columns

On Edge: In a rural Eastern Plains community plagued by drought, stigma won’t be easy to overcome

Week after rainless week throughout the growing season has wounded not just local farmland, but also the emotional landscape

Health

As pandemic hammers its finances, Vail pulls out of state cloud seeding program

Vail Resorts says it can't afford to cover 20% of the $1.5M Colorado spends to trigger more snow and ultimately more water.

Business
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