COLORADO SPRINGS — The number of snowstorms in Colorado this February is making the record books in some parts of the state. "We're looking at having just a great water year—again,” said Colorado Springs Utilities. Water Resource Manager, Abby Ortega. Snowpack becomes the water supply when it melts.
"February [is] kind of our low point for reservoir storage and currently in storage we're at 79% of capacity, which is about 2.8 years of demand in storage today," said Ortega. The numbers are high compared to other years.
Then consider snowpack. The Colorado River Basin is at 119% of average. The Arkansas River basin is also over 100% of average. If snow trends continue, this year there could be more run-off than can be stored.
Yet, a new water saving ordinance in Colorado Springs now restricts outdoor watering to three days. Ortega says it is not based on this single water year. "We also know that we live in Colorado and its ups and downs. We'll have another drought year. We'll have another wet cycle, and we want our customer use to be consistent through that." The ordinance is about water patterns over decades. Using water wisely impacts its availability for the long haul.