Colorado River basin reservoirs benefit from heavy snowpack

Lake Powell - Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. NPS Photo

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Reservoirs around the Colorado River basin are in good shape after an exceptionally wet winter.

The largest reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, are expected to be more than half full this year. They haven’t been near capacity since 1999 when drought took hold of the region.

The worst levels of drought have now disappeared from much of the basin that takes in seven Western states. It’s a dramatic turn from this time last year when parts of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and California were extremely or exceptionally dry.

Nevada and Wyoming also rely on water from the Colorado River.

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation hydrologist Shana Tighi said Wednesday that one good year won’t erase drought concerns. But she says it buys time for long-term planning.

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