It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. The major amounts of rain and snow this winter will boost water levels in Lake Mead and Lake Powell, and this is good news indeed. However more is definitely needed and these crucial lakes are still historically low.
Plus, because the politics of the Colorado River are always more convoluted that they might seem, needed water this year could mean less emphasis for negotiating the Drought Contingency Plan which would cut water use in the Lower Basin and plan for shortfalls in the Upper Basin. Long-term, that could be a problem.
For those trying to get the damn deal done, the big snowpack is a setback.
So it’s worth reminding ourselves where we’re at. From the perspective of the last few years, a 4 million acre feet bump is great news. But as the graph above makes clear, we’ll still end up the water year down 20 million acre feet from the start of the 21st century. We’re along way from being out of the hole.