Snow Pack Monitoring

The Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District (District) monitors the snowpack of the Arkansas and Upper Colorado River basins.  The purpose is to have the ability to present this information to its Board of Directors, constituents, and partners in a graphical format that illustrates both of the basins and the areas specific to the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project (Project) and the areas of the Arkansas basin within the District.  This information is used as an indicator of the amount of Fry-Ark Project water that may be available for allocation.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has “Snow Survey & Water Supply Forecasting Programs”  covering the eleven contiguous western states and Alaska.

The snowpack is measured using SNOTEL (SNOWpack TELemetry) sites.

“SNOTEL and Snow Survey & Water Supply Forecasting” pamphlet.

Colorado SNOTEL Site Map

A user can select a specific site and click to get information and data relative to that site.

SNOTEL sites and the associated Snow Pillows that measure the water content of the snow (Snow Water Equivalent or SWE) by weighing the snow on the pillow.

The District obtains daily “NRCS Snow Water Equivalent” information to determine the current amount of Snow Water Equivalent in a watershed. The Snow Water Equivalent of specific sites is compared to historical high, low, average, and median amounts of Snow Water Equivalent.

Examples of graphs from the hyperlink for the Arkansas and Colorado basins are shown below:

The two graphs shown below are for the current water year and the three previous water years and the average and median curves.

 

 

  • Begin new Snowpack year 

 

For monthly NRCS Colorado Basin Outlook Reports click here.

For the most current SNOTEL information regarding Colorado, click here.