2024 Streamflow Forecast


Every spring, Colorado Water Trust staff begin outreach to our project partners to analyze streamflow forecasts and determine which rivers will most likely be in need of water. This year, we are pleased to say that things are looking pretty good! 

That said, we know that conditions can change at any time and a good spring forecast does not necessarily mean healthy flows during the dry summer and fall season. However, forecasts help us plan ahead and to raise funds to purchase or lease water if our rivers are in need. 

With that, please read our full streamflow forecast for 2024 below:

Overall, the statewide picture at the end of March showed an average to above average snowpack in all basins and minimal drought conditions. The April to June 3-month forecast is looking like we’ll have a slightly hotter melt season with typical precipitation patterns. La Niña conditions are expected to return this summer. Seasonal forecasting for the North American Monsoon is not well developed but increasingly the monsoon is vital to maintaining healthy summer baseflows. 

March precipitation in the Gunnison Basin, where we have numerous projects, brought the numbers from average to well above average. Because many of our projects in the Gunnison Basin use a short-term lease to restore water to a Colorado river or stream, some of these projects may not need to operate this year. Short-term leases allow the Colorado Water Conservation Board to use a lessee’s water in 3 or 5 out of 10 years, so we aim to run those projects in the years when the river needs the most help. Tony LaGreca (Stewardship Manager) is communicating with our partners about whether we will operate our temporary leases this year or not.

The Yampa Basin had a slightly above average snow year. However, as we learned last year, even when the snowpack was 125% of median, flows in the Yampa dropped to critical levels in the dry season and we needed to run our project to keep the Yampa at a healthy level. We are planning for the need to operate our Yampa project again this year and are working to raise funds to purchase water from Stagecoach Reservoir. Josh Boissevain (Staff Attorney) has also been conducting legal work for a new project in the Yampa Basin. Stay tuned to hear more about our new project!

The 15-Mile Reach of the Colorado River near Grand Junction can need more water in almost any year depending on circumstances. Kate Ryan (Executive Director) is working to be able to release water from Ruedi Reservoir when the need arises.

Finally the forecast for the San Juan River Basin near Durango is pointing to below average runoff and the monsoon might be crucial to boost late summer base flows. Blake Mamich (Water Resources Specialist) and Danielle Snyder (Water Transactions Coordinator), who are based in the Southwest, are working on several new projects in that region that we hope to share more about soon.

Want to help us restore water to Colorado’s rivers in 2024? Make a donation to Colorado Water Trust today!

tony lagreca

Tony LaGreca
Stewardship Manager
720.570.2897 ext 4