Arkansas River: Instream flows up with the end of winter water storage program

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From the Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

There was a big jump in flows Friday, because of tests of the river outlet at Pueblo Dam. Flows briefly reached nearly 1,100 cubic feet per second because of engineering studies related to Southern Delivery System, Roy Vaughan, the Bureau of Reclamation’s local manager, said. “We were running a test to calibrate a model of the river gate and find the maximum flow,” Vaughan explained. The river gate, located on the north side of the dam, is where Colorado Springs is proposing to build a North Outlet Works as part of SDS.

The Arkansas River quickly returned to average levels over the weekend, with about 300 cfs flowing through Pueblo and 576 cfs at the Avondale gauge, where the river is joined by flows from Fountain Creek and other tributaries…

Although the Eastern Plains are in need of rain and have entered a moderate drought, nearly everything else about the Arkansas River watershed is average. The winter water storage program stored about 145,000 acre-feet, which is slightly above the 20-year average. Lake Pueblo was storing about 245,000 acre-feet of water Monday, which is about 11,000 acre-feet shy of capacity. The Bureau of Reclamation plans to move up to 9,000 acre-feet of water into Lake Pueblo from Turquoise and Twin Lakes this month in order to free up space in the mountain reservoirs…

In the mountains, the snowpack is at average levels statewide, ranging from 90 percent in the South Platte River basin to 110 percent in the Colorado River basin. The Arkansas River basin was at 105 percent of average on Monday, while the Rio Grande was at 107 percent. Snowpack in all basins is considerably lower than at this time last year, and generally found at elevations above 9,500 feet.

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