A lousy January in the Colorado River Basin

January Colorado Basin precip, courtesy CBRFC

January Colorado Basin precip, courtesy CBRFC

January was dry in the water-producing parts of the Colorado River Basin.

The official Feb. 1 forecast for the Colorado River above Lake Powell (the part of the Basin where all the water comes from) calls for just 80 percent of median April-July inflow. That’s a big drop from the Jan. 1 forecast, which called for inflow of normal (and by “normal” I mean at the median).

That’s about 1.2 million acre feet less inflow forecast. That’s a lot of water to lose in a month. I realize it’s just water on paper. There still are big error bars on the forecast, inherent uncertainties because we don’t know how much it’ll snow from here on out. Seasonal forecast odds are tipped slightly toward wet, so we could get some of that back.

But yowza, 1.2 million acre feet is a lot of water.