Record water predicted for basin

By Erin McIntyre and Carolina Brown

Water managers are predicting one of the top five most plentiful water years in recorded history in Ouray County, with full reservoirs and no shortage of water to go around. It’s the opposite situation they faced last year, with junior water-rights holders unable to draw water from streams, watching bathtub rings grow around reservoirs and stock ponds evaporate into dirt across the Uncompahgre Plateau.
“Last year was pretty bad,” said Bob Hurford, the state’s Division of Water Resources Division 4 engineer, who oversees the Gunnison River Basin including the Uncompahgre River flowing through Ouray County. Hurford referred to last year as “2002-esque,” harkening back to the worst drought in recent memory for western Colorado. But this year is different.
“This year there’s going to be plenty of water for everybody,” Hurford said. “You won’t see a call on the river, obviously, it’s going to be one of those big water years.”

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