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Low snowpack now could mean water restrictions later

Published On: Nov 28 2012 05:20:41 PM CST   Updated On: Nov 28 2012 06:16:16 PM CST

The lack of rain and snow this season has resulted in a snowpack that is well below average. Colorado Springs Utilities said if the weather pattern does not change, Colorado Springs could be facing water restriction by spring.

The drought dominated the summer, and has now lasted through much of the fall season. 

According to Colorado SNOTEL Snowpack Update Map, snowpack across all Colorado basins has dropped to below 50 percent of average.  The driest basin in Colorado is the Arkansas River basin, currently sitting at 26 percent of average snowpack as of Nov. 27.

“It’s one of the lower years we’ve seen on record.  So, we’re hoping for snow but it has not occurred yet,” said Abby Ortega, Colorado Springs Utilities water rights administrative supervisor.

Ortega said CSU has activated its Drought Response Group.  This group meets as a team to discuss a plan for springtime restrictions and how these plans would be implemented.

According to Ortega, there remains 8 months worth of water in storage currently.  She said there is no reason to panic, especially considering it would only take a few big storms to restore the reservoirs’ storage.

CSU said it will continue to monitor the snowpack closely through the season. 

Ortega said a decision as to whether or not water restrictions will be implemented for Colorado Springs will not be made until March.



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