April water quota highest since 1977

Taking into account significantly below-average snowpack and precipitation so far this year, the board of directors of the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District has set a 90 percent quota for Colorado-Big Thompson water. The decision means that C-BT shareholders will receive nine-tenths of an acre-foot of water for every share owned.

The quota will make 279,000 acre feet of C-BT water available to agricultural, municipal and industrial users in the district — a 40 percent increase in supplemental supplies over the initial quota for the 2012 water year. This is the first time since 1977 that the April quota has been 90 percent or above.

As of April 13, snowpack is at 34 percent in the Upper Colorado River Basin and 53 percent in the South Platte River Basin. The year’s precipitation is at 59 percent of the historical average, and Northern Water is also forecasting below-average streamflows this season.

The higher-than-average quota addresses directors’ concerns about farmers’ needs in a dry year.

“This is one of those years why we have the C-BT,” director Kenton Brunner, from Weld County, said in a prepared statement announcing the April quota. “Farmers need to get their crops in and they need the water.”

The board can make additional water available anytime through October if they see the need, according to the district.

For more information about C-BT and water quotas, go to www.northernwater.org and click on the Allottee Info tab.

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