drought in Colorado

Drought Status

According to the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), 87.50 percent of the state is currently experiencing some level of drought (with 98.9 percent being at least abnormally dry). The most extreme drought conditions persist along the southern border of the state. The map featured above shows the drought conditions on May 31.


Recent storms have reduced drought conditions somewhat in parts of the state with late May snow boosting snowpack in most river basins except for the southwestern basins. As of June 2, the Upper Rio Grande was at 4% of median, while the South Platte basin is at 142%. Many areas in the Colorado River system are struggling with low water supply, like Lake Powell, which hit an all-time historic low and Lake Mead which continues to drop.


Colorado has been battling historic drought conditions. Those conditions impact the amount of water flowing in streams and rivers and available in aquifers from which water is being drawn faster than it can be replenished. Water Education Colorado’s Water 22 campaign challenges Coloradans to “Join the Flow” by learning more about where their water comes from and helping conserve it for future generations. This includes taking action to save 22 gallons of water per day while keeping waterways clean. This adds up to 8,000 gallons a year for every Coloradan or 48 million gallons a year across Colorado.


On June 3, statewide snowpack was at 96% percent of median.


As of May 31, cumulative precipitation in the Colorado River watershed was tracking at 98% of average and the South Platte River watershed was tracking at 86% of average. Snowpack in the South Platte River Watershed was at 71% of normal while snowpack in the Colorado River Watershed was at 86% of normal.

Denver Water’s planners do not expect the utility’s reservoirs to completely fill this season. They are 84% full and were 88% full this time last year. Denver Water’s supply reservoir contents as of May 31 are represented in the table below.

ReservoirPercent Full: CurrentPercent Full: Historical Median
Eleven Mile102%102%
Strontia Springs102%93%
Meadow Creek9%35%

The district will continue to work with Denver Water on monitoring the watersheds and will provide updates to our customers through our website and social media channels.