Water year was slightly dry, reservoirs in good shape
The recently completed water year was slightly dryer than normal. Despite the end result, the timing of storms and cool, wet weather in the monsoon season results in good conditions in San Juan County.
In Monticello, total moisture for the water year is 14.02 inches, which is 93 percent of the multi-year average of 15.1 inches.
Annual precipitation in Blanding is just 68 percent of normal, while it is 75 percent of normal in Bluff.
The contrast between the current year and the wet conditions in 2016 was strong. In Blanding, there was 27.5 inches of snow, compared to an astounding 60.5 inches in 2016 and 38.8 in a normal year.
In 2016, Bluff received 10.3 inches in total precipitation, compared to 5.78 inches this year and 7.75 inches in a normal year.
For the fourth year in a row, wetter-than-normal weather in the summer helped in the year-end water year totals. The water year begins on October 1 and ends on September 30.
Continuing a multi-year trend, the winter began wet and cold before warming and turning dry in the later months. Heavy snow storms in December and January helped recharge groundwater sources and filled reservoirs to high levels.
The spring months were dry before the summer monsoon season arrived in July. There were no watering restrictions in area communities through the summer.
As a result of the strong snow and heavy summer rains, the water level of area reservoirs is in great shape as the fall ripens and winter approaches.
Recapture Reservoir filled to within six feet of capacity and was used heavily by irrigators throughout the summer. The water level dropped by ten feet but is still in good shape entering the winter.
“It is the most water we have had for irrigation in a long, long time,” said Ferd Johnson, who manages Recapture Reservoir for the San Juan Water Conservancy District.
The newly expanded Dry Wash Reservoir filled to capacity in the early summer and was used by irrigators. The water level currently sits at the conservation pool.
Loyds Lake is about 58 percent of capacity, and the water level is one foot below its level one year ago.
For the year, nearly 28 inches of precipitation was measured at the Camp Jackson Sno-tel site on the Abajo Mountains. This is 96 percent of the average of 29.1 inches.
For the water year, precipitation at the La Sal Mountain Sno-tel station is 89 percent of normal.
On October 1, Lake Powell was 60.3 percent full. At 3,628 feet altitude, Lake Powell is nearly 18 feet higher than it was one year ago in 2016. The 2016 level was 52.7 percent full.