Upper Missouri Basin Water Supply Report:

July 2016
O'Dell Creek                Photo Credit: Madison Conservation District

In collaboration with the Governor's Drought and Water Supply Advisory Committee, DNRC Water Planners put together a monthly water supply report specific to our regional area, the Upper Missouri River Basin.  The purpose is to offer both information and a point of contact for your feedback on local conditions and concerns.
This email will arrive monthly (unless you unsubscribe below) with relevant water supply information collected from a variety of sources and presented in a user-friendly format.  Ideally, this report will relieve you from the task of ferreting out this information yourself from multiple sources. The information is compiled from local, state and national partners that provide monthly reports to the Governor's Drought and Water Supply Advisory Committee. These climate science experts closely monitor snowpack, streamflow, reservoir levels and other important drought and flooding indicators. 

Please take a look at some of the indicators below that, when pieced together, tell the current water supply story in our basin. For a summary of the water conditions around the state see MT Water Supply.
We hope that you will find this monthly report useful, so please share with others and don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or feedback.  Also keep an eye out for the August update next month!


Ann Schwend 
DNRC State Water Planner for the Upper Missouri River Basin
(406) 444-1806

US Drought Monitor: The basin is especially dry along the Rocky Mountain Front. The Big Hole, Ruby and Beaverhead Rivers are also struggling. Lt. Governor Mike Cooney, Chair of the Governor’s Drought and Water Supply Advisory Committee (DWSAC) recently issued a "Drought Alert" for Glacier, Pondera, Teton and Lewis & Clark Counties, where all users are encouraged to conserve water resources. The drought alert designation does not carry any official status with respect to state or federal disaster assistance programs. Rather, "it is intended to give high visibility to the continuing impacts of drought in affected areas and to prompt communication among stakeholders," according to the Lt Governor.
Stream Flows:   The basin has very mixed conditions, with the majority of the area experiencing below to much below normal flows. While currently stream gages in the Big Hole valley are normal, the month of June was the 4th driest on record. However, the Red Rock River below Lima Reservoir is at 128% of normal. Link to the new state based DNRC gage site for more information on some of the smaller tributaries.
Surface Water Supply Index; The SWSI accounts for snowpack, mountain preciptiation, streamflow, reservoir storage, and soil moisture conditions. Heading into the heat of the Summer, conditions throughout the basin are continuing to dry with the Sun River watershed becoming Extremely dry. 
Soil Moisture:  The Upper Missouri is currently holding onto soil moisture, but dry conditions are moving in from both the east and the west. The Rocky Mountain Front remains an area of concern, as severely depleted soil moisture is apparent in pockets in this area, which may have an impact on groundwater as wells in this area are likely to respond to drought at a two year lag, so last year’s low water conditions are likely to impact groundwater this year.   
Temperatures & Precipitation:   The Basin shows dry conditions in the West Yellowstone and Henry’s Fork areas impacting the southern portions of Madison and Gallatin counties. West Yellowstone is considering a moratorium on all new municipal hookups due to low water. The recent rain (and snow) event mid-July added significantly to stream flows,especially in northern Gallatin, Jefferson and eastern Beaverhead counties to above 100% of normal for this time of year, but these flows will provide limited reprieve in the absence of continued rains. See Precip Totals by Area.
Reservoirs (% of capacity):
Hebgen-97%;  Middle Creek–97%;  Ruby–88%:  Lima-51%;  Clark Canyon–47%;  Willow Creek–95%;  Canyon Ferry–96%;  Helena Valley Reservoir-91%;  Gibson– 34%;  Pishkun–67%;  Willow Creek (Sun)-75%;  Tiber-89%;  Sherburne–83%;  & Swift Creek-66.3%. 
Real-Time Streamflow
Weather Forecasts
Real-Time Water Quality
Fishing Restrictions
Additional Resources
Drought Planning Resources
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