Colorado River flow peaking early, at historically low level

Posted at 10:47 AM, May 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-12 12:47:40-04

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) — The Colorado River's peak flows are arriving early this spring and at one of the lowest levels recorded.

The Daily Sentinel reports that peak flows are expected Sunday on the Colorado and Gunnison rivers, at about 8,500 cubic feet per second near the Utah line.

Only the dry years of 1977, 2002 and 2012 have seen lower levels in 85 years of records kept by the Colorado River Conservation District. If Sunday is the peak, it will also be the third-earliest, according to district records.

Persistent drought is affecting water levels in the river that serves about 40 million people and 6,300 square miles (16,300 square kilometers) of farmland in United States and Mexico.

River managers forecast Arizona's Lake Powell will receive only 42 percent of its long-term average flow from the Colorado this year.