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Water restrictions loom despite recent snowfall

Published On: Dec 31 2012 03:37:17 PM CST   Updated On: Dec 31 2012 07:00:57 PM CST

Colorado statewide snowpack values are up, but Colorado Springs Utilities said it is still highly likely that we will see springtime water restrictions.

Several snowstorms have hit Colorado over the last month, bringing much-needed moisture to the drought-stricken state.

According to the latest Colorado SNOTEL Snowpack Update Map, statewide snowpack is at 72 percent of average.  This is a 23 percent increase from the snowpack reported Nov. 29.

While the additional snowfall has helped, Colorado Springs Utilities said it is not enough to bring the state out of the drought.

“It has helped some, but we are still in drought, and so we’re still looking at a very dry year,” said Abby Ortega, Colorado Springs Utilities water rights administrative supervisor.

Ortega said reservoirs that serve Colorado Springs are at 49 percent of capacity, adding that ideally they should be at 75 percent of capacity.

According to Ortega, the mountains would need to receive several feet of snow to prevent water restrictions this spring.  She said that while the forecast indicates below-average precipitation chances for the first couple of months, there is still a chance the season could take a turn for the better.

“We’re not running out of time at all.  Typically, Colorado sees most of our snowpack in March, April and sometimes even in May.  So, November, December and January are drier months.  So we’re definitely not out of time, and we’ll continue to watch and monitor conditions,” said Ortega.


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