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CODY — Projected runoff from melting snow is less than expected, but Buffalo Bill Reservoir has received enough water to nearly fill up, an official said.

In early March, the Bureau of Reclamation predicted that runoff from April to July would total 650,000 acre-feet, near the 30-year average.

But March was drier than expected, and the April forecast was revised downward to 600,000 acre-feet.

Precipitation in April and May was almost nonexistent, resulting in the predicted forecast being lowered again to 470,000 acre-feet, or about 72 percent of the 30-year average, according to John Lawson, area manager for the Bureau of Reclamation in Wyoming.

Still, Lawson said, Buffalo Bill Reservoir is near capacity because runoff in May was 127 percent of average.

The reservoir, which is just west of Cody, rose more than a foot during one 24-hour period late last week.

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As bad as the precipitation has been, Buffalo Bill is in good shape, Lawson said.

Lawson said he expected high runoff into Buffalo Bill to continue this week. But the snowpack in the reservoir's watershed is nearly gone, so there will be a severe drop in inflows in a few days, he said.

Lawson said despite the high levels in Buffalo Bill, BuRec is strongly encouraging conservation by irrigators and other water users during the summer.

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