City of Boulder’s water supply expected to meet community needs for 2012


The City of Boulder’s water supply is expected to meet community water use needs throughout 2012, despite below-average mountain snowpack levels. However, given this year’s dry weather pattern and low snowpack, the city will continue to monitor for drought conditions through 2012 and beyond to assure that water demand projections are on target.  In addition, Boulder’s water customers are asked to continue to use water wisely.


Snowpack measurements on May 1, 2012, in the city’s Silver Lake Watershed averaged about 50 percent of what is typical for this time of year.  As a result, peak spring streamflow levels will be lower than average.

Arapaho Glacier and Boulder Watershed are good for now


However, last spring’s exceptionally high snowmelt runoff completely filled the city’s reservoirs on upper Boulder Creek, and the reservoirs stayed full longer, leaving storage levels above average at the beginning of this year. Current measurements indicate that the city’s reservoirs are still projected to fill as the snowpack melts. Additionally, Boulder will have access to an above average amount of water from its western slope supplies, through the Colorado-Big Thompson (CBT) system.


The city compared the evaluation of the current water supply conditions with its Drought Response Plan, which factors in water reserve needs in the event of a multi-year drought.  While it was determined that a drought declaration and water use restrictions are not necessary at this time, water customers are still encouraged to continue using water wisely as they have for the past decade.   The community’s water conservation efforts have kept water use at least 15 percent below 2000-2001 levels, since the 2002 drought.


The city recommends water-wise practices by sticking to the following outdoor watering guidelines:

  • Water your lawn in the evenings or early mornings, after 6 p.m. or before 10 a.m., and water your lawn every three days.
  • Do not over water. Do not water when it is raining or when the soil is already wet.
  • Trees, shrubs and vegetable gardens can be watered more effectively with a hand-held hose or low-volume non-spray irrigation, after 6 p.m. or before 10 a.m.
  • Check your sprinkler system and make sure it is working properly and that you are only watering landscaping and not the surrounding areas like streets or sidewalks.

For information about the city’s water conservations program, including rebates, strategies and tips, visit