Colorado snowpack in the Colorado River Headwaters Basin is 3 inches below average this year. It will impact the millions of people who live downstream.
Colorado snowpack feeds numerous rivers in the state that eventually end up in the Colorado River. Seven states, two countries, nine national parks and approximately 36 million people rely on the Colorado River, so when the snowpack is lower than average, the whole region feels the impact.
Unfortunately, 2021 is turning out to be a lower than average snowpack year in the Colorado River Basin, with approximately 70 percent of normal recorded on April 15th, the annual reading date. An average depth reading is 16 inches; this year’s reading was 13 inches.
Water managers predict that average flow in the Colorado River will decrease from 14 to 31 percent by 2050, primarily due to a rapidly increasing population within the river basin, and changing precipitation patterns due to climate change.
River basin managers have to balance a complex set of variables to ensure that all the water demands of the region will be met. People who drink and use water can do their part to help. When people understand how they use – and possibly overuse – water, they can change their behaviors to become more sustainable.
Our Water Footprint Calculator can help people understand their water use.
Once people understand that they use more than just tap water, they are able to change the habits and behaviors that drive up their daily water footprints. Ultimately, this knowledge and the changes that come with it, will help ensure that there will be plentiful water for everyone in the Colorado River Basin.