drought state

Drought Update

As extreme drought conditions persist in the west, it’s likely a water shortage will be declared along the Colorado River.

According to the July 6 update from the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), 17.5% of Colorado falls into the exceptional drought category, 30% is in an extreme drought, 36.4% is in a severe drought, 41.5% is in a moderate drought, and 45.5% of the state is abnormally dry. The map featured above shows the drought conditions on July 6.

While just over half of the state is free from harsh drought conditions, the drought crisis continues in the west. The water levels in Lake Mead and Lake Powell are both at record lows. If their levels continue to deplete, the U.S. Government will declare a water shortage along the Colorado River.

At the beginning of this month, Governor Jared Polis formally declared a drought emergency for western Colorado as counties continue to face evolving impacts and water shortages from a multi-year, severe drought episode affecting industries and citizens. It’s up to all of to make sure we are using best practices for water conservation.

There are no restrictions being enforced by Denver Water other than the annual Outdoor Watering Rules. Following the summer watering rules help preserve reservoir levels, which reduces the risk of water restrictions in the future.

As of July 6, cumulative precipitation in the Colorado River watershed was tracking at 85% of average and the South Platte River watershed was tracking at 102% of average.

Denver Water’s reservoir levels are 98% full. This time last year they were 97% full. Denver Water’s supply reservoir contents as of July 6 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.