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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, Fall 2016

    Current Conditions Lake Mead: Lake Mead’s elevation at the end of the third quarter 2016 was 2.87 feet below the elevation at the end of September 2015 and 91.18 feet below the historical average of Lake Mead.   Lake Powell: Lake Powell’s elevation at the end of the third quarter 2016 was 4.92 feet above the elevation of at the end of September 2015 and 27.63 feet below the historical September elevation of Lake Powell.   24-Month Study Lake Mead: The…


  • Hydrologic Conditions: Texas, Fall 2016

    San Antonio Pool Even though the J-17 Well elevation dropped in June and July, it remained well above the historic average and resumed climbing toward the historic high through August and September (see chart). The pool was in a critical management period most of 2015. Heavy rain and flooding in the spring of 2015 provided a two-month respite from all pumping restrictions. But Stage 1 restrictions were imposed at the end of June. In mid-August 2015, EAA announced a return to Stage 2…

Elsewhere in the Southwest

  • Hydrologic Conditions: Elsewhere in the Southwest, Fall 2016

    After reaching a peak, meeting the 1982-83 wet period at one point, the storage level in Lake Oroville, the primary storage reservoir for California State Water Project, dropped. At the end of the third quarter 2016, the reservoir held 1,618,959 AF—which is 46% of the total capacity or 74% of the historical average for that date (see chart). March storms brought a deluge of water to Northern California nearly filling Lake Oroville, Shasta and Folsom and prompted DWR to increase the SWP…