Runoff this year in the Colorado River peaked early and with marginal volumes after yet another lackluster winter of snow in many of its headwaters. A lot of years in the 21st century have been like that. Some think something else is going on.
Aspen had a hard time making snow last fall. Temperatures were just too warm. Temperatures are clearly rising in the American Southwest, and an EPA study projects temperature rises for hundreds of ski areas across the country. Snowmaking consultant Robin Smith says if many ski areas are to survive, they will need to invest in new technology to maximize windows of cold temperature that will narrow in coming decades.
Water reuse was a strong theme at the Water int he West Symposium, a sort-of coming out conferences for the new partnership between Denver Water and Colorado State University. The two institutions plan a Water Resources Center at the site of the National Western Stock Show complex near downtown Denver.
A new study finds declines at more than 90 percent of snow monitoring sites with long records across the western United States. The study dramatically reinforces earlier findings that pose fundamental questions about the adequacy of the West’s existing water infrastructure, policies, and institutions in a warming world.
Drought has been blamed for declining water levels in Lake Mead and other Colorado River reservoirs, but Brad Udall also points to increased evaporation and transpiration resulting from rising temperatures.