By Clayton Chaney
According to a July 12 press release from Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) Manager Justin Ramsey, based on the Colorado Drought Monitor and San Juan River flows “we meet the criteria for a Drought Stage 1” per the district’s 2020 Drought Monitoring Plan.
Ramsey notes that entering Stage 1 requires board approval.
The board will have a special meeting on Monday, July 19, at 5 p.m. to vote on the matter.
That meeting can be attended in person at 100 Lyn Ave. or virtually via Zoom. The meeting ID is 876 4065 5011 and the password is 560059.
According to Ramsey’s press release, Hatcher Lake dropped another 3 inches from last week’s report and is now at 10 inches from full.
Stevens Lake dropped 2 inches from last week’s report and is now at 3 inches from full.
Lake Pagosa dropped 1 inch from last week’s report and is now 5 inches from full.
Village Lake’s water level remained consistent with last week’s report at 4 inches from full.
Lake Forest’s water level also remained consistent with last week’s report at 2 inches from full.
Total diversion flows are listed at 4.5 cubic feet per second (cfs).
The West Fork diversion flow is listed at 1.5 cfs and the San Juan diversion flow is listed at 3 cfs.
Water production from July 1 through July 7 was listed at a total of 17.97 million gallons. The Snowball water plant contributed 5.08 million gallons, while the Hatcher plant contributed 7.82 million gallons and the San Juan water plant contributed 5.07 million gallons.
Last year, total water production was listed at 19.41 million gallons for those dates.
The National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) shows 100 percent of Archuleta County is in moderate drought, with almost three-quarters of the county in severe drought and just over the half the county is in extreme drought.
The NIDIS website notes that under a moderate drought stage, dry-land crops may suffer, rangeland growth is stunted, very little hay is available and risk of wildfires may increase.
The NIDIS website also notes that 71.17 percent of the county is in a severe drought stage.
According to the NIDIS, under a severe drought stage, fire season is extended.
Additionally, the NIDIS website notes that 51.04 percent of the county is in an extreme drought, mostly in the western portion of the county.
The NIDIS website notes that, under an extreme drought stage, large fires may develop and pasture conditions worsen.
According to the NIDIS, 6.24 percent of the county, in the southwestern portion, is in an exceptional drought stage.
Under an exceptional drought stage, agricultural and recreational losses are large and dust storms and topsoil removal are widespread.
For more information and maps, visit: https://www.drought.gov/states/Colorado/county/Archuleta.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the San Juan River was flowing at a rate of 92.2 cfs in Pagosa Springs as of 11 a.m. on Wednesday, July 14.
Based on 85 years of water records at this site, the average flow rate for this date is 328 cfs.
The highest recorded rate for this date was in 1995 at 1,550 cfs. The lowest recorded rate was 10.9 cfs, recorded in 2002.
As of 11 a.m. on Wednesday, July 14, the Piedra River near Arboles was flowing at a rate of 62.3 cfs.
Based on 58 years of water records at this site, the average flow rate for this date is 266 cfs.
The highest recorded rate for this date was 1,160 cfs in 1979. The lowest recorded rate was 9.44 cfs in 2002.
According to the National Weather Service, today, July 15, temperatures are forecasted to reach a high of 83 degrees and low of 49 degrees, with a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms.
On Friday, July 16, the forecasted high is 86 degrees with a low of 50 degrees, with a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms throughout the day.
On Saturday, July 17, temperatures are forecasted to reach a high of 87 degrees and a low of 50 degrees with a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms.
On Sunday, July 18, the forecasted high is 88 degrees with sunny skies and a slight chance of thunderstorms. The forecasted low for this day is 51 degrees with partly cloudy skies.
On Saturday, July 10, Pagosa Weather reported a record high of 95 degrees at the airport at Stevens Field.
Additional detailed weather reports and forecasts can be found online at: https://pagosaweather.org/.