Hydrologic Conditions

Hydrologic conditions are key drivers of the challenges facing the water industry.  Precipitation, rainfall and runoff foretell whether water supplies are plentiful or sparse.  The status of water storage in reservoirs signals whether supplies will be sufficient to meet water demands or water shortages are on the horizon.

JOW tracks and analyzes conditions from key water sources in three major areas:

  • Colorado River Basin: We provide an analysis of current forecasts from the Bureau of Reclamation 24-Month studies, which informs operations and provides early warning of a shortage in the Lower Basin.
  • Texas: We present information about the well elevation levels in the Edwards Aquifer’s J-17 and J-27 monitoring wells and compare them to various historical levels and Critical Management Period triggers.
  • Elsewhere in the Southwest: We discuss current and historical storage levels in Lake Oroville.  Lake Oroville is the primary storage reservoir for the State Water Project (SWP), which supplies water to 25 million California residents and 750,000 acres of farmland.

Colorado River Basin

  • Hydrologic Conditions: Colorado River Basin, November 2015

    Current Conditions Lake Mead: Lake Mead’s current elevation is now 4.68 feet below the elevation of Lake Mead in November 2014 and 85.91 feet below the historical November elevation of Lake Mead. Lake Powell: Lake Powell’s current elevation is now 4.29 feet ABOVE the elevation of Lake Powell in November 2014 but is still 28.84 feet below the historical November elevation of Lake Powell.   24-Month Study Lake Mead:  The November 2015 24-Month Study projects that Lake…


  • Hydrologic Conditions: Texas, November 2015

    San Antonio Pool The J-17 Well elevation increased above the Stage 2 critical management trigger and ended October just below the Stage 1 trigger (see chart). Stage 1 restrictions have since been removed pursuant to EAA’s November 10 announcement that applicable triggers for Stage 1 no longer exist. The pool has been in a critical management period most of this year. Heavy rain and flooding this spring provided a two-month respite from all pumping restrictions. But Stage 1 restrictions…

Elsewhere in the Southwest

  • Hydrologic Conditions: Elsewhere in the Southwest, November 2015

    Lake Oroville Lake Oroville, the primary storage reservoir for the California State Water Project, continues to drop and is now at 28% of its total capacity or 47% of the historical average for the date. Storage levels are above where they were at the same time last year, but are still below the historical low from the driest year on record (1976-1977). (See chart) Forecasters are predicting that El Niño is almost certain this winter, assigning high probabilities to the likelihood of wet…