Despite recent snowstorms, snowpack is below normal, Denver Water says

Reservoirs still low after 2 years of drought

DENVER - Despite recent snowstorms, Denver Water cautions the snowpack in its watersheds is still below normal.

The snowpack in Denver Water’s watersheds is 87 percent of average in the Colorado River watershed and it is 78 percent of average in the South Platte River watershed, said Stacy Chesney of Denver Water, Colorado's largest water utility.

Chesney cautioned that, as spring warms up, it can be hard to use snowpack depths to accurately gauge the percent of average normal snowpack. The problem is that snow normally starts melting by mid-April. This means that the average snowpack level starts to decrease, while the percent of average normal snowpack begins increasing even in the absence of additional snow, she said.

Even if this year's snowpack reaches normal peak levels, Denver Water reservoirs remain below normal after two years of drought.

At this point, Chesney said, "It is too early to say how full our reservoirs are going to get."

"The good news is that folks don’t need to worry about watering until May -- at the earliest --because of the great snow we have been getting," Chesney said.

"At this point, we are still in Stage 2 drought," Chesney said. But officials are monitoring conditions closely and will update the public as conditions change.

Denver Water officials hope to have a better sense of how reservoirs are filling by late May, she added.

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