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, January 2016

    Current Conditions Lake Mead: Lake Mead’s current elevation is now 6.86 feet below the elevation of Lake Mead in January 2015 and 83.07 feet below the historical January elevation of Lake Mead.   Lake Powell: Lake Powell’s current elevation is now 5.68 feet ABOVE the elevation of Lake Powell in January 2015 but is still 28.21 feet below the historical January elevation of Lake Powell.   24-Month Study   Lake Mead: The January 2016 24-Month…


  • Hydrologic Conditions: Texas, January 2016

    San Antonio Pool The J-17 Well elevation continues to increase, mirroring the historical trend (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 was in a critical management period most of 2015. Heavy rain and flooding in the spring provided a two-month respite from all pumping restrictions. But Stage 1 restrictions were imposed at the end of June. In mid-August, EAA…

Elsewhere in the Southwest

  • Hydrologic Conditions: Elsewhere in the Southwest, January 2016

    Lake Oroville Driven by storms in December, Lake Oroville, the primary storage reservoir for the California State Water Project, began to increase and ended December at 29% of the reservoir’s total capacity or 47% of the historical average level for the date. While storage levels are increasing in January, they continue to lag behind both last year and the 1976-1977 dry period (see chart). Recent storms have been attributed to El Niño. Coming into the rainy season, forecasters…