Parched US Southwest gets reprieve as snowmelt fills rivers

DENVER (AP) — A welcome surge of melting snow is pouring out of the Rocky Mountains and into the drought-stricken rivers of the southwestern U.S.

Enough snow fell last winter to delay a water shortage in the region, but the runoff is threatening to push some streams over their banks.

Much of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming had above-average snowfall. As it melts, an abundance of water is rushing into the Colorado River, the Rio Grande and other waterways.

It’s a big change after a desperately dry 2018.

Federal officials said last winter there was a better than 50% chance of a shortage in the Colorado River in 2020. That could have meant less water for Arizona, which has low-priority rights.

Officials now say the shortage might be put off until after 2021.

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Associated Press writer Brady McCombs in Salt Lake City contributed to this report.

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Follow Dan Elliott at http://twitter.com/DanElliottAP.

Associated Press

Associated Press

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