Daniel Rayzel

In 2018, drought in the Four Corners was aggravated by a weak winter, leading to historically low inflow to McPhee Reservoir and the lack of any spills.


Now that nearly four months of above-average precipitation benefited snowpack and reduced drought conditions, what’s in store for McPhee?

Austin Cope (File Photo)

The Dolores Water Conservancy District announced Wednesday that McPhee Reservoir is now over a 50 percent chance for a spill. 

Water leaders from the seven states that make up the Colorado River basin are one step closer to finalizing a drought contingency plan. Representatives from Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, California and Arizona met in Phoenix Tuesday to sign a letter to Congress asking for federal approval of the plan.

High snowpack in the southern Rocky Mountains this winter will likely stave off a shortage declaration in the Colorado River watershed in 2020, relieving pressure on water managers attempting to navigate future scarcity.

New data from U.S. Bureau of Reclamation models show a lessened risk of a key Colorado River reservoir dropping far enough to trigger a first-ever shortage declaration. Snowpack in the Upper Colorado River Basin is at 138 percent of the long-term median, a level not seen in mid-March since 1997.

Daniel Rayzel

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor report shows improving conditions in the Four Corners.