The Animas Hits An All Time Low Water Level
For well over 100 years a gauge in the back of the Powerhouse Science Center in Durango has been gathering data on the river's water level. According to information maintained by the US Geological Survey about September 26th, the Animas River dropped below the 100 cubic feet per second mark. After a closer look, it appears to be a new low as the Animas River has never dropped below that 100 CFS level, ever.
The Animas River is another casualty along with other lakes and rivers impacted by the Colorado drought. Southwest Colorado has been hit the hardest with 2018 on track to become the second driest water year on record. 2002 still ranks as the lowest year with 1977 the third lowest.
The problem started with a dry summer in 2017. Then winter never showed up. The San Juans received about half its normal snowpack. Most years the region sees about 20 inches of snow water equivalent. This year, it was only 11. This spring wasn't much help as southwest Colorado stayed in the “exceptional drought” category well into summer. The "exceptional" is the worst the US Drought Monitor has for such listings. Add to that the "monsoon season" that never materialized and we now see the result. The Animas River at record lows. Yet another waterway added to the long list of this drought's destruction.
Credit: The Durango Herald