Current Drought Status
Colorado is in active drought. Water Year 2020 concluded as the 12th warmest water year on record in Colorado since 1895. It was the third driest water year on record, trailing only 2002 (driest) and 2018 (2nd driest). A critically hot spring, high winds, dry summer, and multiple monsoon seasons with poor to no moisture contributed to 2020’s record breaking fires. Climate outlooks for 2021 indicate drought conditions are expected to continue next year.
On June 22, 2020, Governor Jared Polis activated Colorado’s Drought Task Force and Phase 2 of the State Drought Mitigation and Response Plan to respond to deepening drought conditions across the state. Due to continued, worsening conditions throughout the fall and summer, the Governor expanded the Drought Plan to Phase 3 on November 30th. The Drought Plan and supporting task forces will remain activated - assessing conditions and recommending mitigation measures - until statewide conditions significantly improve.
The June Phase 2 activation called together the Agricultural Impact Task Force - a representative stakeholder group that has met biweekly to review physical and economic impacts of drought on Colorado's agricultural economy and to recommend opportunities for mitigation.
The November Phase 3 activation initiated the Municipal Water Impact Task Force - a representative group that will coordinate with water providers across the state to prepare for anticipated water challenges into 2021.
To hear reports of current conditions and climate outlooks, tune into the monthly Water Availability Task Force. This is an open, public meeting that provides regular condition monitoring of snowpack, precipitation, reservoir storage, streamflow and weather forecasts with reports from the Colorado Climate Center and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Monthly drought summaries are provided by the CWCB to recap meeting highlights.