Rain keeps coming, Arikaree is running

All this precipitation will have some kind of impact on the tri-state Republican River Compact, but just how big of one remains to be determined.
The Arikaree River was running earlier this week in southwest Yuma County. It is the first time since June 18, 2019, according to Michelle Smith, whose ranch sits along the river near Joes. Sunday was the second time in one week there was water in the Arikaree.

The Yuma area received more steady rains last Friday and Saturday, dropping 0.46 of an inch. That brings June’s total to 2.81 inches as of earlier this week. Another heavy rain visited Wednesday evening, dropping 1.7 inches, bringing June’s total to 4.51 inches. Yuma has received 9.2 inches since early May. (Measurements based on the CoAgMet station at the Irrigation Research Foundation site.) It has been the same all over the region, including certain areas that received torrential downpours.
Southern Washington and Yuma counties received heavier rain last week, including 1.07 inches in two days at the CoAgMet station near Joes, helping contribute to the Arikaree actually being a river of sorts again at least for a little while.
It obviously has been a big help to farmers, ranchers, homeowners, gardners, just about anybody.
However, how does stronger flows in the Republican River’s north and south forks, along in the Arikaree, actually help with Colorado’s obligations to Kansas and Nebraska in regards to the Republican River Compact?

The Arikaree River runs through Michelle Smith’s ranch, last weekend. (Photo courtesy of Michelle Smith)

Republican River Water Conservation District General Manager Deb Daniel said any rain event has an impact on the compact accounting. The Republican River Compact Administration engineers will calculate to what extent it will affect the compact accounting.
Daniel said the compact groundwater model is an extremely complex analysis used every year to analyze the rainfall in each state. It takes into account where the precipitation was received, and how much of it made it to the USGS compact gauge.
“The blessing of receiving good precipitation will have an impact on how much water we have to deliver with the compact compliance pipeline this year,” Daniel said in an email. “Of course, any pumping of groundwater for irrigation, municipal use or for animal confinement facilities also have an effect on the calculations. We won’t know how much impact there will be until after they run the groundwater model later this summer/early fall.”
The forecast called for a decent change for rain in Yuma again this past Tuesday evening, and gain today, June 22. Summer officially began Wednesday of this week, June 21.