UCRWG is excited to release our first-ever Upper Colorado River Watershed Snapshot, providing real-time modeling of stream flows in the Upper Colorado River watershed for August 1, 2018. This is a crucial first step in locally-based watershed modeling, allowing for a watershed-scale perspective on how water demands from both the Eastern and Western slopes are putting stress on the headwaters of the Upper Colorado River.
At a glance
The watershed snapshot below presents water flow data collected from USGS gages alongside color-coded pins that reflect how current conditions measure up against to historical median flows. Note that the red pins representing less than 56% of median flows are all in headwater reaches upstream from most water diversion projects. These pins reflect natural precipitation and runoff from this year. The blue and green pins further downstream reflect water being “delivered” from catchment areas to respect the senior water rights of the Cameo Diversion Dam and Shoshone Power Plant during this drought year. In between are the orange pins of the Fraser Valley with flows at 65-83% of medians and relatively junior water rights. The release is particularly timely given recent voluntary fishing closures implemented by Colorado Parks and Wildlife in response to elevated water temperatures creating unhealthy living conditions for native fish.
One of our primary goals here at UCRWG is to produce and publish these watershed snapshots on a regular basis. Visually mapping when and where water is flowing through our watershed can provide crucial real-time information to local users in an easy-to-read format. Whether you’re an avid fly fisher wondering where waters are cool enough to fish or a downstream rancher needing to know when you’ll have water for your fields, a regularly updated watershed snapshot can help provide much-needed information about how much water is flowing through our watershed in real time.
UCRWG would like to say a heartfelt “Thank you!” to the Roaring Fork Conservancy and the US Bureau of Reclamation for making this watershed snapshot possible through generous funding under a WaterSMART grant.
Stay tuned for more Watershed Snapshots and more exciting watershed-related information from UCRWG.