Snowmelt Key to Water Supply
Northern Water staff use snowpack and runoff data to help plan near-term project operations and for long-term planning of water supplies. Allottees and water users of our projects also benefit by knowing how much water their native watersheds on the East Slope will yield. Late spring and early summer snowmelt and runoff from the Rocky Mountains provides most of Colorado's water supply. Greater snowpack means favorable water supplies; lower amounts can signal an impending drought.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) collects snow data for the basins in which the Colorado-Big Thompson Project collects and delivers water. The NRCS network has 730 remote data collection platforms in the Western United States; approximately 90 are in Colorado. These sites continuously monitor snowpack and climate data and transmit it to a central computer in Portland, Oregon.NRCS Colorado Basin-Wide SNOTEL Data