Folks, we’ve got a drought going on

2013 Colorado Basin forecast, courtesy CBRFC

2013 Colorado Basin forecast, courtesy CBRFC

Bill Hasencamp at the Metropolitan Water District (I think it was Bill) asked a question today on the Colorada Basin River Forecast Center monthly briefing call that led to an email exchange that led to this, from the work blog: the forecast for spring inflow into Lake Powell, on the Colorado River, is the lowest since the CBRFC began doing forecasts in 1979. And the two-year sum of spring flows (April-July last year and this), if the forecast verifies, will be the lowest two-year spring total since Glen Canyon Dam was completed in the 1960s.

Meanwhile on the Rio Grande, southern New Mexico water numbers guru Phil King told me (newspaper story) that, if the forecast on the Rio verifies, 2013 will be the driest year by one measure (current flow and available storage reserves) in the history of modern water management, going back a century:

An abysmal March, on top of an abysmal snowpack season, on top of an abysmal 2011 and 2012, means 2013 is shaping up to be the driest year on the Rio Grande in a century of modern water management.

“It’s the worst year ever,” said Phil King, a professor at New Mexico State University and adviser to southern New Mexico’s largest farm water agency.

King had been preparing his farmers for the worst, but that did not make it any easier to take when the forecast showed that the worst case scenario is now happening.

“It hurts to get slugged in the stomach,” King said, “even if you’re expecting it.”

We’ve got a situation here.