It’s raining, it’s snowing, the drought is still going

Planners are excited to see moisture in the forecast, but snowpack and reservoir levels are still well below average.

April 8, 2013 | By: Travis Thompson

We are always excited to see moisture in the forecast, but unfortunately it doesn’t change the fact that we’ve experienced two years in a row of above average temperatures and low snowpack. Because of this, our reservoirs haven’t been full since July 2011.

We would need about six feet of new snow in our mountain watersheds over the next 2-3 weeks to have a normal snowpack. The forecasted snowfall will certainly help our situation, but we don’t expect enough snow to get us out of the drought because of our low reservoir levels. In fact, we are so far behind that even with a normal snowpack, our reservoirs would still not completely fill this year.

It isn’t all bad news though. The upcoming forecast is great for local soil moisture and serves as a reminder that you don’t need to use your irrigation systems just yet.

You can see in the snowpack charts below that the snowpack levels in the South Platte watershed are hovering just above last year’s number at 57 percent of average. The Colorado River watershed is doing better than last year, but it is still at 70 percent of average. These are the two watersheds that Denver Water relies on for mountain snowmelt to feed our reservoirs. You can see from the supply reservoir graph below, our reservoirs are 14 percent lower than they should be for this time of year – and we don’t expect them to fill.


ColSnow_April8 (2) SPlatteSnow_April8 (2) ResContent_April8

4 thoughts on “It’s raining, it’s snowing, the drought is still going”

    1. We update the charts every Monday with a new blog post. Please read On your marks, get set, go for this weeks updated charts showing the snowpack levels above Denver Water’s diversion points as well as our current reservoir levels compared to the average levels for this time of year.

  1. The charts that accompnay this article; e.g., Snow Pack and Supply levels were created in April 2013 and show data only up to that date! Why can’t you put up current charts?

    1. This story is actually from 2013, so the graphs embedded reflect that time period. We do update our Water Watch Reports with the latest charts and data every week and you can view them here.

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