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Snow will improve drought conditions, won’t bust them

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DENVER — As we see all of the snow this week, the big question is how does it affect our statewide drought conditions? We could have used these snow storms earlier in the season, but experts say better late than never.

The fact that Denver could see up to five more inches of snow this week is good news for keeping the state’s lawns green, and for those looking forward to enjoying ski areas, parks and soccer fields without restrictions.

Experts say late season snowstorms have already boosted the Colorado river basin from a  72 percent to 93 percent. The state’s snow supply provides most of the water needed for household use, irrigation and recreation throughout the year.

Cold temperatures are helping as well, because the longer the snow stays around the better the chance the water will be deeply absorbed when it melts.

The new snow is good news for skiers too, as Copper Mountain, Breckenridge and Vail are extending their season an extra weekend.

But experts say it’s not a complete drought-buster.

Why? Because the state could still use more snow in the mountains. Fire crews drained reservoirs to very low levels to fight wildfires last year and those water sources need replenishing. That might not happen in time for this summer’s upcoming heat.

Denver Water says it’s too early to get excited about lifting watering restrictions, but the agency said it will be flexible when enforcing those restrictions.

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