San Juan river reaches record low flow rate

By Clayton Chaney
Staff Writer

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the San Juan River was flowing at a rate of 24.4 cubic feet per second (cfs) as of 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 21. 

Based on 84 years of water records, this is a record low flow rate for that date. The previous record low flow rate recorded for that date was in 1957 at 25 cfs. The average flow rate for the date is 156 cfs. 

The highest recorded rate for that date was in 1973 at 1,350 cfs. 

Lake report and water production

According to an Oct. 19 press release from Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) Manager Justin Ramsey, all five of Pagosa’s local lake water levels are down. 

According to the press release, Lake Forest is 4 inches from full, or 96.97 percent full.

Hatcher Lake’s water level is down 62 inches, or 80.86 percent full.

Stevens Lake is listed at 87.2 percent full, or 43 inches from full.

Lake Pagosa is down 13 inches, or 95.29 percent full. 

Village Lake is down 24 inches, or 88.89 percent full.

Diversion flows remain at a total of 4.3 cfs, with the West Fork diversion contributing 3 cfs and the San Juan diversion contributing 1.3 cfs. 

Water production from Oct. 9 through Oct. 15 was listed at a total of 13.87 million gallons. The Snowball water plant contributed 3.47 million gallons, while the Hatcher plant contributed 10.4 million gallons. The San Juan water treatment plant was shut off on Sept. 30.

Last year, total water production was listed at 11.18 million gallons for those dates. 

This story was posted on October 27, 2020.