North Platte River Basin Water Update

North Platte River Basin Water Update

Recent storms rolling through southeast Wyoming and the Nebraska Panhandle have brought considerable moisture to the North Platte River Basin.  As of May 2, the reservoirs in Wyoming — Seminoe, Pathfinder and Glendo — can hold an additional combined 452,000 acre-feet of water before being considered full. Glendo is only 43,891 acre-feet from being in the flood pool.  Pathfinder reservoir will fill with 137,389 acre-feet of water. I believe Pathfinder will fill and the new Ogee weir that was installed several years ago will be put to use. The excess water flowing over the weir back into Fremont Canyon below Pathfinder dam is quite a site and makes for a spectacular waterfall.

The typical time for runoff/snowmelt in the Snowy Range and Sierra Madre mountains in southeastern Wyoming is mid-April; however, this year it was delayed several weeks and is just starting. With more moisture forecast for this Saturday (May 7), the delay may be even longer.  Current combined inflow into Seminoe reservoir is 2,749 cfs. Average combined inflow would be 8,000-12,000 cfs for the same period.  So, there is a lot of water to come out of the mountains. The US Bureau of Reclamation has started releasing some water from the Glendo and Guernsey reservoirs and the Pathfinder Irrigation District has started to fill the Inland Lakes north of Scottsbluff.

Overflow from Pathfinder Dam in Wyoming
Figure 1. Overflow from Pathfinder Dam near Casper, Wyoming (File photo by Gary Stone)

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