The Wyoming Area Office of the Bureau of Reclamation held its annual North Platte River Water Information meeting on Wednesday, April 11, at the UNL Panhandle Research and Extension Center in Scottsbluff.
“We anticipate a full water supply for the irrigators with the supply we have and the carryover,” said Mahonri Williams, chief, resources management division of the Wyoming Bureau of Reclamation.
The April forecasts indicate the spring snowmelt runoff will be below average. Total April through July runoff in the North Platte River Basin above Glendo Dam is expected to be 715,000 acre-feet (AF) which is 78 percent of the 30-year average.
The spring seasonal outlook provided to the Bureau from the National Weather Service is calling for above average temperatures and below average rainfall.
“If the temperatures are above average and precipitation is below average, it may result in the irrigators needing more water than average,” Williams said. “In turn, that could affect how much carryover water we have for the following year.”
Current releases are 2,700 cubic feet per second (cfs) from Seminoe Reservoir through the Miracle Mile, 1,000 cfs out of Gray Reef, and the release out of Guernsey Reservoir is expected to begin on April 23.
“I think all the irrigation districts will be watching the water supply,” said Dennis Strauch, general manager for Pathfinder Irrigation. “If we have another low snowfall next year, we could be in trouble and looking at limited supplies.”
Strauch added they will have normal delivery operations with early deliveries by May 10 and the main push in June.