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Winter’s crucial gift

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Measuring Snowpack
Weighing winter’s snow. Photo credit: Denver Water.

How much snow falls in Colorado’s high country — and how much water it holds — sets the tone for Denver’s water supply for the rest of the year.

And with warm, dry stretches — like last fall’s snowless streak — affecting our community, watching the snowpack, preparing for the next drought, and using water efficiently all year-round is even more important now than in the past.

From January through May, our crews make a monthly trek to 11 locations in Grand, Park and Summit counties to measure snow depth and weight. This information is used to calculate how much frozen water the snow holds.

Our planners use information collected by SNOTEL sites that provide real-time snow information at locations across Colorado and the Western U.S. And they use information collected by planes flying over the snow in Denver Water’s watershed above Dillon Reservoir.

With all this information, our planners have a better picture of what’s on the ground now and what we might expect for our community’s water supply once the snow melts.

Learn more about how we are planning for the future