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 May 31, 2019

Current situation

  • In May temperature was 4.1 degrees below normal and precipitation was 122% of normal.
  • We currently have 2.6 years of demand in storage.
  • Total system storage is at 73% of capacity. Local storage contains about 258 days of demand.
  • Crystal Reservoir, on the north slope of Pikes Peak, levels are declining as we prepare for necessary dam maintenance.
  • Snowpack is well above average across our mountain collection systems.
  • Please use water wisely. (Officially, the Water Shortage Ordinance is set at Stage 1 Voluntary Restrictions).

Reservoir levels

  • Pikes Peak: 59%
    (1981 to 2010 average is 73%)
  • Rampart: 92%
    (1981 to 2010 average is 87%)
  • Local total: 79%
    (1981 to 2010 average is 82%)
  • System total: 73%
    (1981 to 2010 average is 74%)

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 on image to enlarge or for more information from NOAA.)

drought monitor May 28.png