Colorado is a headwaters state. The snow that falls in the Colorado Rocky Mountains provides water to about 5 million Coloradans and people living in 18 other states. The use of the water in our 8 major watersheds is allocated to these users by river compacts like the Colorado River Compact.
The Rockies act like a frozen reservoir. Spring runoff from the snow feeds our streams, rivers, lakes, groundwater and reservoirs—starting points for the West’s water supply. It is then treated, used and returned to evaporate into snow and rain again.
With drought, high population growth and in-migration, there is concern that there may not be enough water to go around in the future.
Water conservation is a critical piece of the Colorado water puzzle.
Utilities, government agencies, non-profits and industry groups work hard to implement and support conservation programs to address their local water demands. We're also working together to advance water conservation programs and technology regionally. Colorado Water Wise brings this water conservation community together.
The Colorado Water Plan, finalized in 2015, is a state-wide effort. It offers ways to implement water supply planning solutions to meet our future water needs while supporting healthy watersheds and the environment; robust recreation and tourism; sustainable cities; and productive agriculture.
The U.S. Drought Monitor releases a map every Thursday showing parts of the U.S. that are in drought. The Drought Monitor has been a team effort since its inception in 1999, produced jointly by the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Follow the link on the left for the current Colorado drought map.
The NRCS Snow Survey Program provides mountain snowpack data and streamflow forecasts for the western United States. Common applications of snow survey products include water supply management, flood control, climate modeling, recreation, and conservation planning.
Follow the link on the left for the current, basin-wide SNOTEL graphs.
The Future of Colorado's Water, a Seuss-like Tale, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences – Jeff Lukas presents Colorado's water and future projects from the Colorado Water Assessment using a Dr. Seuss-like rhyme that brings cleverness and smiles despite the subject's gravity. First presented at the National Center of Atmospheric Research on April 16, 2015.