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Water storage levels in reservoirs in the West remain at or above average for the most part going into the final month of the region’s water accumulation season.

Audio file

Participants: Rod Bain and USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey


Most Western reservoirs remain at or above capacity for water storage as spring soon approaches, a result of the prior winter's heavy mountain snowpack accumulations.

There are exceptions to this, according to USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey.

The only holdouts with below average storage at this time, Washington State and New Mexico, the Colorado River Basin, we have the effects of chronic heat and drought over the last quarter century that has shrunken the massive reservoirs, including Lake Mead near Las Vegas.

And he adds for those reservoirs already with significant water storage.

That doesn't even include what's going to come in terms of runoff for this year, because here we are late February, early March.

Most of what is going to run off into those reservoirs is still stored as snowpack at this time and won't melt for a few more weeks.

Most areas in the West report excellent snowpack and precipitation totals with one month left in the Western water season.

I'm Rod Bain reporting for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C.