Snowpack Measurements crucial for determining western water supply
Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today joined U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Undersecretary Robert Bonnie, snow surveyors from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and local water managers to do a manual reading of the state’s snowpack. The group also visited the site of an automatic SNOTEL measurement device. These snowpack measurements are part of the Snow Survey and Water Supply Forecasting program that water officials rely on to know how much water will be available when the snow melts in the spring. Robert Bonnie is the USDA’s top environmental and natural resource official. He oversees both the NRCS and the U.S. Forest Service in his capacity at the agency.
“At a time when part of our state are facing devastating drought and significant population growth, having an accurate assessment of our water supply is vital,” Bennet said. “Thankfully, we were able to maintain resources for this important snow surveying program this past year, and I look forward to working with NRCS and local water managers to ensure its long-term sustainability.”
Colorado contains nine major watersheds, each with its own snowfall patterns and obligations to downstream states, making accurate measurements particularly important. Last year, resources for manual snow readings were threatened by sequestration. However, Bennet, along with Senator Mark Udall and Representative Scott Tipton, helped secure funding for the Snow Survey and Water Supply Forecasting program.