U.S. Water News Online
COLUMBUS, Neb. -- While most of the West is experiencing
from generally abundant snowpacks, an exception to the well-watered norm is
the Platte River Basin in northern Colorado, southwest Wyoming, and western
Nebraska. As Nebraska irrigators entered their most intensive water-using
season of the year, inflow into Platte River reservoirs is 12 percent below
the 20-year average.
Despite the shortfall, officials of the Nebraska Public Power
that the irrigation season has begun with normal water storage. This paradox,
they say, is partially due to water conservation along with lingering effects
of an extremely wet 1993. Because conditions were so cool and wet two years
ago, the district reportedly gained an extra irrigation season worth of water
storage beyond what was anticipated.
Each year, the Nebraska power district prepares an operating
reservoirs along with irrigators. The 1995 plan anticipated dry conditions
because the long-term pattern of below-average precipitation appeared to be
continuing in Wyoming and northern Colorado. Snowfall in the upper basin
ultimately turned out to be even lower than anticipated.
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