Drought Status and Monitoring
Planning for and managing drought in Colorado requires diligent monitoring of a variety of dynamic water availability and climate factors in order to gauge the severity of drought. The severity of droughts is directly related to the following:
- Magnitude (how large the water deficits are in comparison with historic averages)
- Duration (how long the drought lasts)
- Areal Extent (what area is impacted by the drought)
There are a number of tools and resources that are available to help water resource managers and planners assess drought severity so they can effectively administer their systems and meet user needs. These resources include:
- Water Availability Task Force (WATF): This task force monitors conditions that affect Colorado’s water supply, including snowpack, precipitation, reservoir storage, streamflow, and weather forecasts.
- Drought Status Reports: Drought status reports synthesize drought indicators and present aggregate results. Several agencies report on drought conditions across the state on a monthly or weekly basis. The Drought Portal is a helpful online tool that summarizes drought conditions across the
- Drought Indices: Drought indices assimilate one or more drought-related variables into a single index score. The Drought Monitor uses a drought severity classification to produce a national weekly drought summary.
- Water Supply Monitoring Measurements: These measurements include data collected regularly to monitor drought conditions. This includes precipitation, snowpack, evapotranspiration, streamflows, reservoir levels, etc. These measurements often comprise the raw data that is used to calculate drought indices.
- Drought and Weather Forecasts: This section includes forecasts of future drought and weather conditions.