Despite recent winter storms, snow pack throughout Western Colorado is still well below normal. This could mean less water for everyone this spring and summer. However, the Ute Water Conservancy District said it has a plan if snow pack levels do not improve.
The Western Slope has been in a drought for the past two years. There was more snowfall this winter than last, but it is still not enough.
Heavier snowfall early this winter helped boost southwest river basins closer to normal, but dry conditions recently have led to a decreased snowpack in that area. It is down 5% from last month.
The largest increases were reported in Rio Grand, Arkansas, and the South Platte Basins. With the snowfall season coming to an end soon, Grand Valley water providers already have usage plans in place.
Joseph Burtard of the Ute Water Conservancy said, "We won't know until early or mid April what our snow pack will be like and if we will move from phase 1 to phase 2 drought."
Phase one drought is voluntary water reductions, but phase 2 would mean mandatory reductions and potentially a big increase in water bills as drought rates go into effect.
State conservationists said the stream flow forecasts point to well below normal volumes for this spring and summer in all major river basins.
As of today, snowpack was 73 percent of normal and 83 percent of last year's readings.
The water districts said residents should conserve their water when possible.