Water, water everywhere

Outlook positive for local water users

GOSHEN COUNTY – “We expect a full water supply in 2018,” – this was the overall message residents heard as they gathered in the Goshen County Fairgrounds Brand Room for the Bureau of Reclamation’s annual informational meeting Tuesday morning.
The event covered operations, accounting and a question-and-answer session for water year 2017, which ran from Oct. 1, 2016 to Sept.
30, 2017.
Water users along the North Platte River System should have adequate water supply in the coming year, according to Mahonri Williams of BoR.
“If we get a below-average inflow year, we’ve got good carryover to help us out with storage,” Williams said at the event. “What we do in the fall is prepare an operating plan, a 12-month look ahead …”
Williams said, in the event of an average water year, BoR expects Sept. 30, 2018 to look very similar to this year – a positive message for residents in this area.
“(With) a low water year, we might end up a little bit below average,” he continued, adding even in this circumstance, the amount of carryover in the system will be able to adequately supplement any shortfalls.
BoR recorded April to July 2017 inflows at the Seminoe Reservoir at 101 percent of average; Sweetwater River’s 2017 snow and runoff is well above 30-year average of 17.1 inches, at 35.85 inches; and Pathfinder Reservoir’s content nearly reached the “Top of Active Conservation” at 1,100,000 acre-feet in June of 2017, which is approximately 500,000 acre-feet more than the June 30-year average.
Alcova to Glendo snow and runoff peaked at 10.98 inches in 2017, just under the 30-year average peak of 11.88 inches – gains were 99 percent of average. Glendo Reservoir’s content scraped the bottom of the “Top of Active Conservation” at 500,000 acre-feet in 2017, which is slightly above the 30-year average.
Guernsey Reservoir’s 2017 outflow was higher than the 30-year average in April, May June and September, and near 30-year averages in July and August. Outflow at Guernsey for 2017 was above the 30-year average of 1,084,200 acre-feet, but below 2016, which neared 1,500,000 acre-feet.
Total water supply conditions for 2017 are:
• Seminoe: 813,300 acre-feet, 136 percent
of average
• Pathfinder: 792,800 acre-feet, 163 percent of average
• Glendo: 111,900 acre-feet, 89 percent
of average
• Guernsey: 9,100 acre-feet, 182 percent of average
Following Williams’ report, BoR area manager Carlie Ronca addressed the crowd.
“In total, we produced 119 percent of our 10-year average of power,” she said.
Ronca also reminded attendees of the BoR’s WaterSMART Program, which offers grants for eligible water conservation and water and energy efficiency projects.
Funding groups range from a cap of $300,000 to up to $1 million (a 50/50 match), depending on the project and program.
Ronca said BoR gave away more than $20 million in funds in 2017, adding she expects more information about the grants to be released this month.
For more information, visit the BoR website at usbr.gov/gp.


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