Drought Status



Snowpack and Drought Conditions Improve After February Snow Storms

According to the February 23 update from the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), 16% of Colorado is in the exceptional drought category, 41% is in an extreme drought, 32% is in a severe drought, and 10% is in a moderate drought. Collectively, 100% of Colorado remains in a drought. The map featured above shows the drought conditions on February 23.

Through January statewide snowpack was 65% of normal. After a few February snow storms, statewide snowpack rose to 88% of normal as of Feb. 25. Only one part of Colorado is above the to-date median – the southern Upper Rio Grande zone at 108 percent.

State reservoir storage is currently at 83% of average. Extreme soil moisture deficits and below normal precipitation means all basins should prepare for a low runoff year. The continuance of drought is expected through 2021 and the State Drought Plan remains in Phase 3 activation.

Though the February snow storms have helped snowpack, it is still too early to tell if there will be water restrictions. The decision to implement any restrictions should be known after the March 24 meeting of the Denver Board of Water Commissioners.

As of February 22, cumulative precipitation in the Colorado River Watershed was tracking at 84% of average with snowpack tracking at 97% of normal. Cumulative precipitation in the South Platte River Watershed was tracking at 90% of average with snowpack tracking at 99% of normal.

Denver Water’s reservoir levels are 77% full. This time last year they were 80% full. Denver Water’s supply reservoir contents as of February 22 are represented in the table below.

 

ReservoirPercent Full: CurrentPercent Full: Historical Median
Antero99%99%
Eleven Mile103%102%
Cheesman94%85%
Marston64%48%
Strontia Springs91%93%
Chatfield32%48%
Dillon86%96%
Gross52%78%
Ralston93%69%
Meadow Creek23%42%

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.