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Water Supply & Demand

Horsetooth Reservoir


Fort Collins' water comes from two sources:

  • The Colorado-Big Thompson (C-BT) Project, which includes Horsetooth Reservoir
  • The Cache la Poudre River basin, including portions of the Michigan River basin that flow to the Poudre River via the Michigan Ditch and Joe Wright Reservoir system

Per the Water Supply & Demand Management Policy (PDF 91KB), Utilities maintains enough water supply to meet at least a 1-in-50 year type drought event in the Poudre River basin. During more severe droughts, restrictions or other measures may be needed to reduce demands to match available supplies per the Water Supply Shortage Response Plan (PDF 95KB). Every year, the City encourages water conservation to make efficient use of a scarce and valuable resource. Learn more in the Fort Collins Water Supply and Demand Management Policy Revision Report (PDF 5MB).

Each year, the City typically:

  • Delivers an average of 24,000 acre-feet of treated water to customers
  • Uses 3,000 to 4,000 acre-feet of raw water to irrigate Fort Collins' parks, golf courses, cemetery, green belt areas and school grounds
  • Delivers about 4,000 acre-feet of other raw water obligations

The City currently owns water rights that yield approximately 75,000 acre-feet per year. Because of system capacity and legal constraints, as well as annual yield variations, the amount available to meet treated water demands is normally much less. Today, the City's water supplies can meet an average annual treated water demand of approximately 31,000 acre-feet during a 1-in-50 year type drought.