Snowpack levels in watersheds for Denver Water rising, still below average

2:39 PM, Apr 24, 2013   |    comments
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DENVER - In Stacy Chesney's Denver Water office, they hear a lot of the same questions over and over. Residents in the city have been wanting on drought restrictions, since the metro area has seen snow for several consecutive weeks. However, the snow hasn't changed the news: Cities throughout Colorado are still in a drought.

"It's been two years of drought that have gotten us into this situation. So, reservoir levels are low, and that snowpack in our watershed it still below its peak," Chesney said.

Denver Water announced a stage-two drought restriction guideline, allowing residents to water their lawns only two days a week, based on their addresses. Despite the snow, those restrictions remain in place. Chesney says snowpack watershed levels in the Colorado River and South Platte River watersheds have a lot to do with that decision.

"That snow is what melts and becomes water in our reservoirs. But we're measuring at the areas [and watersheds] that affect our reservoirs," she said. "So why you see that statewide [snowpack] number that's 103 percent, our numbers are a bit lower and different just because of where we get our water."

Several years of extreme drought conditions caused watershed and reservoir levels to drop far below normal. It could take a long time to recover from those dry years.

"Our reservoirs haven't been full since July of 2011," Chesney said.

The recent frequent snow has brought about the possibility of some good news for those wanting to water their lawns. Water restrictions, right now, are set to last until the fall, but Chesney says by the end of May, officials will re-evaluate the situation to determine if any aspect of the restrictions can be loosened.

To find out about statewide water restrictions, visit

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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