Climate, Water Supply, & Drought

ERWSD Climate, Water Supply, & DroughtDrought is a natural part of Colorado’s normal climate and consists of a shortage of water resulting from lack of precipitation. The gradual melting of the high country snowpack sustains the water flow in mountain streams and rivers throughout the year. Low or insufficient snowpack results in low streamflows, which may be inadequate to fulfill an area’s normal water consumption.

Colorado is a landlocked state with the highest average elevation in the United States. Elevation, combined with presence of mountain ranges, results in large statewide differences in yearly precipitation, temperature, humidity, and wind, among other variables.

Although drought is a natural occurrence, its presence is cause for heightened awareness of the potential effects of availability of a lower-than-normal water supply.


  • Snowpack Data
  • Streamflow Data
  • Drought Resources
  • Climate
Snowpack DataSNOTEL (Snow Telemetry) data and reports are produced from snow survey sites in the western United States that contain automated monitoring devices. These reports include specific information regarding snow water equivalent (how much water is contained in the snowpack), snow depth, precipitation, temperature, and other climate-related data in hourly, daily, monthly, and yearly increments. ERWSD monitors these sites to track annual snowpack and gauge the potential water supply conditions for the following season.

Streamflow DataThe District monitors streamflow levels using data from United States Geological Survey (USGS) gauges in specific locations below, which are pertinent to District operations.  Streamflow data is used for a variety of reasons including operational strategies, water quality purposes, historical comparison, and water rights administration, among others.

Climate information.Colorado is a semi-arid, landlocked state with the highest average elevation in the United States. Elevation, combined with presence of mountain ranges, results in large statewide differences in yearly precipitation, temperature, humidity, and wind, among other variables. This is especially true of the mountainous, high country regions of Colorado. Continual climactic variations also add an element of complexity to operations, as water supply, quality, and demand are all affected.