Drought

What is it?

A period of dry weather, especially one extensive in time. 

What’s the Risk?

From 1952-1956, Fort Collins saw its worst period of drought. Because there were no significant water supplies in place, it had a severe impact on area agriculture. Since the Fort Collins area was primarily an agricultural community at that time, the drought had a major economic impact on the area as well. Ironically, the construction of Horsetooth Reservoir had just been completed; however it had not yet filled with water because of the drought.

More recent drought periods have resulted in increased awareness about water conservation efforts, and, at times, mandatory water restrictions during the summer months.

How Should I Prepare?

Conserve Water:

  • Make an effort to use less water, even before a drought is declared. Turn off running faucets, take shorter showers, run full loads in the dishwasher and washing machine.
  • Consider replacing appliances with water-saving versions.
  • Use less water for landscaping – consider xeriscape or plants that require less water.
  • Water lawns in the evening, rather than during the hottest part of the day, to reduce evaporation.
  • Abide by local watering restrictions, when in effect.

Prepare the area around your home for wild land fires, which are a greater risk during periods of drought:

  • Check with your local fire department to determine the wild fire hazards specific to your area. You can obtain guidelines on how to create a “defensible space” from your local fire station. 
  • These guidelines help to increase the chance that your home will survive a wild land fire in your area and include actions like:
    • Thinning tree and brush cover.
    • Cleaning your roof and gutters.
    • Pruning branches to 10 ft above the ground.