San Juan Watershed - High and Dry?


The summer’s monsoon season has helped the San Juan Watershed recover some of the losses over the last few years of drought, but is it enough as the summer comes to an end, or will the same worries over the Colorado River Basin continue to permeate the area? And the One Book, One Community Committee has announced Send a Runner: A Navajo Honors the Long Walk as the book for the 2022-2023 year. By Hannah Robertson. This story is sponsored by CMIT Solutions and Pop's Truck & RV Center

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The San Juan Watershed is looking a little wetter, compared to this time last year, and in comparison to other watersheds in the Southwest. However, experts warn that just because the water levels are doing okay, it doesn't mean we're out of the drought just yet. The book selection for the "One Book, One Community" read this year, is "Send A Runner: A Navajo Honors the Long Walk". You're watching the Local News Roundup, brought to you by CMIT Solutions, and Pop's Truck & RV Center. I'm Hayley Opsal. A presentation by the San Juan Water Commission on September 6th, outlined the current status of the watershed area in the Four Corners region. The presentation focused primarily on the Animas River watershed and the San Juan watershed, the two primary watershed areas that serve Northwest New Mexico. The levels are at 90 to 100% of average in the region, thanks in part to the good monsoon season that made up for less than average runoff this past spring. A watershed is an area of land where water primarily snowmelt in the Four Corners region, channels into rivers, creeks, and lakes. It can be a measurement of water levels in that area as well. The presentation looked at area snowpack last year, which was close to average after a couple of years of low snowpack, but expected spring runoffs were not close to expected. The lack of runoff is likely due to much of the snowmelt going into the soil at higher elevations in Southwest Colorado. The dry soils are part of the longer lasting effects of the drought in the Southwest. The presentation also touched on the Colorado River watershed, which supplies water to residents in New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California, and Mexico, and has been a topic of concern for several years now. While the US Bureau of Reclamation shows Lake Navajo at 55% full, Vallecito Reservoir north of Durango is 49% full, and McPhee Reservoir north of Cortez as 53% full. Lake Powell is only 26% full. Lake Mead is only 28% full. The lack of water in these two major reservoirs on the Colorado River, is especially concerning with regard to the future of water in the Southwest. Water conservation will continue to be a topic of concern for the time being, but knowing and understanding how watershed levels impact daily life, can aid in better education and use of water. Learn more about the San Juan Water Commission at San Juan College's "One Book, One Community" annual reading program, has announced its book selection for 2022 to 2023. "One Book, One Community" program promotes campus and community dialogue and literacy through curriculum and events. A type of community-wide book club of sorts. The book selection this year is "Send a Runner: A Navajo Honors the Long Walk" by Edison Eskeets and Jim Kristofic. "Send a Runner" follows Eskeets and his family's organization of the ceremonial run from Spider Rock in Canyon De Chelly, Arizona, to Santa Fe, New Mexico, that honors the survivors of the Long Walk. The Long Walk was the forest march of Navajo people by the US government in 1864 from their ancestral lands in Arizona to Northern New Mexico. The "One book, One Community" committee will host several events throughout the year, focusing on themes related to the Dine culture, education about the Long Walk, the importance of understanding historical trauma, and more. This year, the committee also is excited to announce that both the authors will visit the area. To learn more about the different events, the book, and the authors, visit The public is invited to a final design presentation for the All Abilities Park. Two presentations include one on September 26th at 6:00 PM at the San Juan Center for Independence. The second presentation will be September 27th, also at 6:00 PM, at the Farmington City Council meeting. The presentation on the 27th also will be streamed as part of the city council meeting. Learn more about the All Abilities Park at That's it for this week's Local News Roundup. I'm Hailey Opsal.


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