By Clayton Chaney
According to a Sept. 13 press release from Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) Manager Justin Ramsey, Hatcher Lake is now almost 3 feet from full.
Hatcher Lake’s water level dropped 5 inches from last week’s report, bringing the current water level to 34 inches from full.
Stevens Lake dropped 6 inches from last week’s report and is now at 27 inches from full.
Meanwhile, Lake Forest’s water level rose 2 inches from last week’s report and is now at 3 inches from full.
Pagosa Lake saw no change from last week’s report and remains at 5 inches from full.
Village Lake is the only one of the five local lakes that is full and has been for seven consecutive weeks.
Total diversion flows remain at 5.5 cubic feet per second (cfs).
The West Fork diversion flow is listed at 2.5 cfs and the San Juan diversion flow is listed at 3 cfs.
Water production from Sept. 3 through Sept. 9 was listed at a total of 16.79 million gallons. The Snowball water plant contributed 3.9 million gallons, while the Hatcher plant contributed 7.16 million gallons and the San Juan water plant contributed 5.73 million gallons.
Last year, total water production was listed at 17.59 million gallons for those dates.
The district remains in a Stage 1 drought per its drought management plan, according to the press release.
Ramsey notes that the primary driver of this drought stage is the San Juan River flow in conjunction with the U.S. Drought Monitor, which indicates our area is in a severe to moderate drought.
Ramsey notes that PAWSD is continuing to request voluntary odd/even watering days, “requesting that if your address is an odd number only irrigate on odd calender days and vice-versa for even number addresses.”
There are no other mandatory water use restrictions in place besides limiting irrigation to after 6 p.m. and before 9 a.m.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the San Juan River was flowing at a rate of 23.7 cfs in Pagosa Springs as of noon Wednesday, Sept. 15.
Based on 85 years of water records at this site, the average flow rate for this date is 165 cfs.
The highest recorded rate for this date was in 1970 at 2,000 cfs. The lowest recorded rate was 13.5 cfs, recorded in 2018.
As of noon Wednesday, Sept. 15, the Piedra River near Arboles was flowing at a rate of 24 cfs.
Based on 58 years of water records at this site, the average flow rate for that date is 123 cfs.
The highest recorded rate for this date was 2,650 cfs in 1970. The lowest recorded rate was 13.3 cfs in 2002.
The National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) was last updated on Sept. 7.
The NIDIS website indicates 95.27 percent of Archuleta County is abnormally dry, this is down slightly from the previous report of 95.29 percent.
The percentage of the county in a moderate drought remains at 67.47 percent, consistent with the previous report.
The NIDIS website also notes that 42.68 percent of the county is in a severe drought stage, which is up slightly from the previous report of 41.75 percent.
Additionally, the NIDIS website notes that 9.12 percent of the county remains in an extreme drought, mostly in the southwestern portion of the county, consistent with the previous report.
The NIDIS website notes that under an extreme drought stage, large fires may develop and pasture conditions worsen.
No portion of the county is in an exceptional drought.
For more information and maps, visit: https://www.drought.gov/states/Colorado/county/Archuleta.
According to the National Weather Service, today, Sept. 16, temperatures are forecasted to reach a high of 82 degrees and low of 41 degrees with clear skies throughout the day and night.
For Friday, Sept. 17, the forecasted high is 81 degrees with a low of 41 degrees. Sunny skies are forecasted during the day, with clear skies at night.
For Saturday, Sept. 18, temperatures are forecasted to reach a high of 82 degrees and a low of 45 degrees with clear skies throughout the day and night.
For Sunday, Sept. 19, the forecasted high is 81 degrees with clear skies. The forecasted low for this day is 46 degrees with partly cloudy skies at night.
Additional detailed weather reports and forecasts can be found online at: https://pagosaweather.org/.