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, March 2016

    Current Conditions   Lake Mead Lake Mead’s current elevation is now 2.90 feet below the elevation of Lake Mead in March 2015 and 80.07 feet below the historical March elevation of Lake Mead.   Lake Powell Lake Powell’s current elevation is now 2.16 feet ABOVE the elevation of Lake Powell in March 2015 but is still 29.98 feet below the historical March elevation of Lake Powell.   24-Month Study   Lake Mead The March 2016…


  • Hydrologic Conditions: Texas, March 2016

    Edwards Aquifer San Antonio Pool The J-17 Well elevation again dropped slightly, but still sits below the average elevation and above the Stage 1 trigger (see chart).     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 announced a return to Stage 2 restrictions, which require all…

Elsewhere in the Southwest

  • Hydrologic Conditions: Elsewhere in the Southwest, March 2016

    Lake Oroville Over the month of February, Lake Oroville, the primary storage reservoir for the California State Water Project, continued to increase and ended the month at 53% of the reservoir’s total capacity or 76% of the historical average level. The storage level now exceeds the 1982-83 wet period (see chart). Storage in Oroville is continuing to increase in March, and hydrologic conditions have prompted DWR to increase the SWP allocation to 45%. However, DWR cautions that despite…