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Snowpack off to a good start across Colorado River basin

Felicia Fonseca
AP Photo

About 60% percent of the Colorado River starts as snow in Colorado.

That’s a water lifeline for more than 40 million people from Wyoming to Mexico.

This year’s snowpack is off to a good start, but the basin would need years of back-to-back wet conditions to help erase drought.

"We've had a few rough years," Becky Bolinger, Colorado’s assistant state climatologist, said. "And so to get to get us back into a more comfortable spot, we really need above average peak and a nice, slow, sustained melting season in the spring."

To keep up those higher-than-average totals, Bolinger says the mountains need consistent snow every week until the spring.

Snowpack in Arizona is much higher than in many other parts of the mountain west. Most regions that collect data in the state are showing more than 200% of the average for this time of year.

This story is part of ongoing coverage of water in the West, produced by KUNC and supported by the Walton Family Foundation.