Water outlook

Water outlook

As your local water provider, we have a responsibility to protect your water supply and help ensure the health, safety and economic vitality of our community. We carefully monitor several factors, including levels of our reservoirs, snowpack and forecasted stream flow.

As of Dec. 31, 2019

Current situation

  • In December temperatures were 4.8 degrees above normal.
  • Precipitation in December was 94 percent of normal, at 0.32 inches.
  • Year-to-date precipitation is 11.75 inches, which is 71 percent of normal.
  • We currently have 2.8 years of demand in sytem-wide storage.
  • Total system storage is at 80% of capacity.
  • We currently have 242 days of demand in local storage.
  • Crystal Reservoir, on the north slope of Pikes Peak, levels are very low, as is necessary for dam maintenance.
  • Please use water wisely. 

Reservoir levels

  • Pikes Peak: 62%
    (1981 to 2010 average is 71%)
  • Rampart: 81%
    (1981 to 2010 average is 68%)
  • Local total: 74%
    (1981 to 2010 average is 72%)
  • System total: 74%
    (1981 to 2010 average is 72%)

How does Colorado Springs Utilities determine that we are in are in a drought?
There are a variety of factors used to determine when we are in a drought including: long range forecasts, storage levels, snowpack, operational constraints, soil moisture and others. If total system storage is projected to be below 1.5 years of demand in storage on April 1 then the results are reported to the City Council with a recommendation for implementation of water shortage response measures.

How do we determine what Water Shortage Ordinance stage we are in?
Our water supply staff create a forecast of water storage levels.  If the forecast shows that storage will get below our risk tolerance threshold of one year of demand in storage, experts estimate how much water savings will be needed to keep us at or near that threshold. Each stage of drought response has a corresponding estimate of expected water savings associated with it. We set the Water Shortage Ordinance stage by matching the amount of savings needed with the amount of savings expected from the various stages.

(Click here for more Drought Monitor information from NOAA.)