Water Blog

Greeley Snowpack Update: Spring 2019

by Kelen Dowdy, City of Greeley Water Resources Administrator I

Snow-Survey-FebWater Resources personnel in Northern Colorado continuously forecast water supply to plan for the upcoming water year by monitoring snowpack and snow water equivalent (SWE) data. Snow data are collected through surveys using active and passive sampling techniques. Active sampling involves a team of personnel traveling to each survey site to manually collect data using snow core measurements. Passive sampling includes SNOTEL or snow telemetry that remotely monitors snowpack, precipitation, and temperature using a combination of equipment including snow pillows and radio telemetry devices.

The values gathered through these surveys can be graphed, used to compare to past water years, as well as predict spring runoff. Years with less snow generally translate to years that water resources personnel must guarantee that storage is adequate to provide water to all consumers during a water short summer season. Comparatively, years that snowpack is high and river flows follow suit are years where storage systems can be replenished. Paired with drought data, predictive precipitation, and temperature, snowpack values provides crucial data for users water.

This year, snowpack values peaked higher than both the average and the median. Compared to 2017, the South Platte River basin that serves Northern Colorado currently has 117% snowpack and compared to the normal values we now have 105%. Statewide snowpack numbers follow the positive trend with a statewide average of 130%. These numbers suggest an adequate water supply year for Northern Colorado. 


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Greeley Water and Sewer

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