Drought and Snowpack Update

According to the May 10 update from the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), 1.2% of Colorado is in an Exceptional Drought (D4), 5.8% is in an Extreme Drought (D3), 57.4% is in a Severe Drought (D2), 91.5% is in a Moderate Drought (D1), and 100% of the state is Abnormally Dry (D0). The map featured above shows the drought conditions on May 10.

Last month was the 5th driest April for Colorado in the 128-year record. The northeastern plains experienced record dryness, with the rest of the eastern plains and southern mountains in the bottom 10th percentile. Temperatures were close to the normal range for most of the state. Due to high wind anomalies, dry air, and significant sunshine, evaporative demand in April was near record high for the eastern plains.

While some drought improvement occurred over the winter and early spring, drought conditions have begun to expand and worsen and are expected to continue worsening into summer.

REMEMBER! ANNUAL SUMMER WATERING RULES ARE IN EFFECT MAY 1 THROUGH OCTOBER 1

Overall, snowpack peaked a little early and a little below average. In the southern basins, snowpack has melted much faster than average. Melting has been a bit slower in the northern basins. Melting has been driven by warmer temperatures, dust on snow, and lack of new accumulating moisture.

As of May 17, snowpack statewide is 55 percent of median.

 

As of May 16, cumulative precipitation in the Colorado River watershed was tracking at 92% of average and the South Platte River watershed was tracking at 76% of average.

As of May 16, 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 reservoir levels are 80% full and were 84% full this time last year. Denver Water’s supply reservoir contents as of May 16 are represented in the table below.

ReservoirPercent Full: CurrentPercent Full: Historical Median
Antero100%100%
Eleven Mile103%103%
Cheesman93%99%
Marston69%76%
Strontia Springs92%95%
Chatfield24%78%
Dillon95%100%
Gross54%97%
Ralston95%92%
Meadow Creek100%90%

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.