Runoff news

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From the Aspen Times (Scott Condon):

An estimated 64,200 acre feet of water from the upper Fryingpan Valley will be pumped through the Boustead Tunnel this year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. That’s about 34 percent higher than the annual average, but significantly less than last year’s amount…

A network of 17 diversion structures and 27 miles of tunnels taps water from 11 creeks and two branches of the Fryingpan River and sends the water east, according to reclamation bureau data. It is distributed to Colorado Springs, Aurora, Pueblo as well as farmers and other water users in the Arkansas River Valley.

Despite the diversion, Ruedi Reservoir, east of Basalt, will fill to capacity by about the second week of July this summer, the same as last year, according to Carlos Lora, a hydrologist with the reclamation bureau, which manages the reservoir. The U.S. Forest Service boat ramp just past the dam is already in water. The ramps at the Aspen Yacht Club and the east end of the reservoir will be in water by early June and remain until late September, Lora told a small audience that gathered in Basalt Thursday evening to learn about Ruedi Reservoir operations this year.

From the Summit Daily News (Bob Berwyn):

Just upstream of Dillon Reservoir, the Blue River was flowing at 407 cubic feet per second recently, compared to the 51-year median average of 182 cfs. A gauge on Ten Mile Creek was reading 556 cfs Wednesday morning, compared to the historic average of 299 cfs for the date…

Denver Water recently announced it will start to release more water from Dillon Reservoir as it anticipates peak runoff. Flows below the dam in the Lower Blue reached about 500 cfs Wednesday, according to a press release from Denver Water.

From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

As projected, we did hit a peak release of 750 cfs from Ruedi Dam to the Fryingpan [May 20] morning. Combined with snowmelt coming down Rocky Fork Creek, approximately 800 cfs flowed down the Fryingpan River through the day.

[May 21] we began curtailing our releases and scaled back by 50 cfs. We will continue to reduce releases from the reservoir to the river in 50 cfs increments through tomorrow morning. By tomorrow (Friday, May 22), releases from Ruedi should be at about 500 cfs with resulting flow in the Fryingpan around 550 cfs, or possibly a little less, depending on the contribution of Rocky Fork. We anticipate the 500 cfs release rate will last through the weekend.

From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

As part of our participation in the Coordinated Reservoir Operations program (press release and explanation included in last Thursday’s e-mail), we are increasing our releases from Green Mountain to the Lower Blue by another 200 cfs. [May 19] we bumped up from 750 cfs to 850 cfs. Around 4 p.m. [May 19], we will bump up from 850 cfs to 950 cfs.

From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

The following is another update on releases from Ruedi Reservoir and our participation in the Coordinated Reservoir Operations program, or “CROS.” The main message is that we are still planning to hit 800 cfs in the Fryingpan, but it will not last as long as we originally thought. More explanation follows. I have numbered the points for quicker reading.

1) Please keep in mind that we closely monitor the reservoir. Because of changing weather patterns and water demands, our projection for releases from Ruedi to the Fryingpan River are subject to change. I do my best to keep you all informed via this e-mail notification.

2) We bumped up our releases from Ruedi Dam to the Fryingpan River by 50 cfs this morning, raising our release from 600 cfs to 650 cfs. This afternoon, we will bump up from 650 cfs to 700 cfs. Currently, the Rocky Fork is contributing 50 cfs in snowmelt runoff. Our release plus flows from the Rocky Fork will put a total of about 750 cfs in the Fryingpan by late afternoon.

3) Tomorrow morning (Wednesday, May 20), we will bump up 50 cfs one more time to 750 cfs. With runoff from the Rocky Fork, the total in the Fryingpan River will be 800 cfs.

4) Ruedi Reservoir will fill this year.

The release schedule that is currently in place is due to our participation in CROS. Both a press release and an explanation of this program were included in my e-mail last Thursday. Several of you commented about the current water level at Ruedi Reservoir. I understand your concern. So, to clarify:

5) We only participate in CROS in years where we have enough snowmelt to both fill the reservoir and help augment the natural peak of the Colorado River.

6) The 800 cfs flow in the Fryingpan will NOT go through Memorial Day weekend as first projected. This is due to a change in the snowpack across the Colorado River Basin. Instead, the 800 cfs in the Fryingpan will only last a day. That means by Wednesday evening, we will begin scaling releases from the reservoir back down, in 50 cfs increments.

From the Fort Collins Coloradoan:

Water levels on the Poudre River have risen from 300 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 1,500 cfs in just one week.

Update: From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

… today flows in the Fryingpan are in the 500 cfs range. They will be in the 400 cfs range for Saturday, 300 for Sunday and back to 250 cfs for Memorial Day. We will maintain a flow of 250 cfs in the Fryingpan until further notice.

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