The U.S. Drought Monitor Map in mid-January 2021, with Denver Water’s collection system outlined in green. Image credit: The National Drought Mitigation Center.

Water supply update from Denver Water

Denver Water tracks Colorado's snowpack, drought, and water supply data in order to prepare customers for possible drought conditions and make recommendations for customers to limit water usage during our driest months.

Shared by our external partners at Denver Water. For details specific to this article, please contact a member of Denver Water’s media team at travis.thompson@denverwater.org, jose.salas@denverwater.org, or todd.hartman@denverwater.org.

You may have noticed an increase in media coverage around snowpack, drought, water supplies and generally extremely dry conditions, so I wanted to reach out with some information and an update from Denver Water.  

While the bulk of the winter is still ahead of us, including Colorado’s snowiest months of March and April, we wanted to let you know what we’re doing to prepare, in case we don’t get the snow we need in the mountains.  Our experts monitor a variety of factors, including precipitation, snowpack, stream flow, soil moisture, long-range forecasts, reservoir levels and water use to help us plan ahead. Denver Water also depends on its Water Shortage Response Implementation Plan to help guide our decision-making in the face of drought. 

If conditions don’t improve, one possible step would be for staff to recommend our board adopt a “Drought Watch” in March. A drought watch is mostly a voluntary effort designed to raise awareness that water supplies are below average, conditions are dry and/or continued dry weather could lead to mandatory water use restrictions (beyond our annual watering rules). During a drought watch, Denver Water would increase our encouragement of efficient water use and provide suggestions for further reducing water use to help our water supplies last. 

Our customers have done an amazing job to reduce water use over the years, and we ask them to remain vigilant this winter. It is still early in the season, and we’ve been here and recovered before, but we want to raise awareness that we could be headed into a prolonged drought. 

If you’re interested in more information, read the recently published drought story and learn about Denver Water’s approach to drought at denverwater.org/Drought