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, 2018

Current situation

  • Temperature was above average and precipitation was well below average, as measured at the airport.  2018  precipitation was 93% of normal, with temperature averaging 2.4 degrees above normal.
  • We currently have 2.7 years of demand in storage.
  • Total system storage is at 74 percent of capacity. Local storage contains about 147 days of demand.
  • Rampart Reservoir storage will continue to increase through the winter months.
  • According to the U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook, drought conditions are expected to persist across much of our state through the year's end.
  • Please use water wisely. (Officially, the Water Shortage Ordinance is set at Stage 1 Voluntary Restrictions).

Reservoir levels

Pikes Peak​ 56 percent (1981 to 2010 avg. 69 percent)​ 
Rampart​ 48 percent (1981 to 2010 avg. 73 percent)
Local total​ 51 percent (1981 to 2010 avg. 72 percent)
​System total 75 percent (1981 to 2010 avg. 74 percent) 


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.)

water outlook dec.png