Drought/Snowpack Update



Colorado remains in a severe drought, but new snowpack instills hope.

According to the February 9th update from the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), 100% of Colorado is in a moderate drought with 90% in a severe drought, 70% in extreme drought and 25% in the exceptional drought category. Drought conditions have lightened slightly within the last month. The map featured above shows the drought conditions on February 9th.

Snowpack conditions have improved after last weekend’s snowstorms. Based on NRCS data from February 10th, statewide snowpack was at 85% of average which is up from 74% from nearly a month ago. With 40% of the snowpack season remaining, it is still looking hopeful for a good runoff season, but it will not be known for at least another month if there will be increased water restrictions. Possible restrictions may include a late start for irrigation systems which may be set to a specific date, extending the Summer Watering Rules, and employing the voluntary “drinking water upon request” program for food service operations. The decision to implement any restrictions should be known after the March 24 meeting of the Denver Board of Water Commissioners.

As of February 8, snowpack in the South Platte River Watershed was at 105% of normal with a percent of normal peak at 54% while snowpack in the Colorado River Watershed was at 91% of normal with a peak of 53% of normal. Cumulative precipitation in the Colorado River Watershed is tracking at 90% of average and cumulative precipitation in the South Platte River Watershed is tracking at 82% of average.

 Denver Water’s reservoir levels are 77% full. This time last year they were 81% full. Denver Water’s supply reservoir contents as of February 12 are represented in the table below.

 

ReservoirPercent Full: CurrentPercent Full: Historical Median
Antero97%99%
Eleven Mile97%102%
Cheesman58%83%
Marston61%52%
Strontia Springs91%94%
Chatfield66%94%
Dillon81%89%
Gross39%43%
Ralston52%53%

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.