The first forecast of the year for Colorado River water supplies is a bleak one.
The river that serves as a key source of water for seven states including California, Colorado, Utah and Nevada is expected to flow at only about 54 percent of its average volume during the key runoff period from April to July.
The National Weather Service's Colorado Basin River Forecast Center in Salt Lake City released a report Wednesday showing December snow totals as low as 20 percent of average in some areas.
The discouraging forecast comes on the heels of some welcome news for the drought-stricken and overdrawn river.
Lake Mead ended 2017 almost 2 feet higher than a year ago, as use of Colorado River water by Nevada, Arizona and California hit its lowest level since 1992.