Runoff news: Lake Granby at highest level in years

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From the Sky-Hi Daily News (Tonya Bina):

At present, the lake is at an elevation of 8,276 feet, or about 4 feet (about 29,000 acre feet) from being full, according to Noble Underbrink, department manager of the Farr Pumping Plant of Lake Granby. The last time the reservoir was in that range was in 2000. Prior to that, the lake was close to or above that level each year. “This puts us back to normal since the perceived drought of 2001,” Underbrink said. In years since, the lake elevation was about 10 feet below where it is now, a level that can make a drastic difference to reservoir shores. Precipitation on the Front Range where water is delivered from Lake Granby, he added, decreased the need to draw water. The plant is pumping water at night to maintain elevation levels in Grand Lake; meanwhile Lake Granby remains stable, fluctuating by about 100th of 1 foot. Underbrink said he doesn’t expect Lake Granby to spill this year, unless there is an abundance of rain during the remainder of the summer. The last time the reservoir was completely full was in 1998.

From The Mountain Mail (Christopher Kolomitz):

It reached 3,250 cubic feet per second in Salida Monday and flow of about 3,500 cfs was recorded downriver. Heat, sun angle, rain and need to move water owned by municipalities and irrigation companies to downstream reservoirs are reasons behind the increase, officials said. It’s the second flow peak on the river since runoff began in early May. May 23 the river reached about 2,700 cfs in Salida. Flow was below 1,500 cfs around June 12 and has been on a steady climb since. The most recent big increase started June 26 when river flow at the Salida gauge jumped from 2,250 cfs to almost 3,000 cfs. “It’s a pretty unusual situation to have two significant peaks 30 days apart,” Greg Felt, owner of Ark Anglers and a member of the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District board of directors said Monday…

Twin Lakes Reservoir is 90 percent full and Turquoise Reservoir is 98 percent full. Both reservoirs are in Lake County and water owners are looking downriver to Pueblo Reservoir which is 67 percent full for more space…

[Linda Hopkins, hydrologic technician with the Bureau of Reclamation] said the 54,000 acre feet of canal company storage in Twin Lakes is full…

Monday 439 cfs was being moved from the West Slope through the Boustead Tunnel into Turquoise Reservoir. The Bureau of Reclamation which operates the tunnel, collection systems and reservoirs, is moving 250 cfs into Pueblo Reservoir, Hopkins said. Felt noted it’s been raining in the high country and at lower elevations, leading to an increase of 200-300 cfs.

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Up until this week, river flows were up 30-40 percent above natural levels because of releases from accounts in reservoirs. Those releases are being cut back this week as transmountain flows slow, Vaughan said. “Basically, everyone’s moving water to where they have space,” Vaughan said. The Fry-Ark Project has moved about 81,000 acre-feet through the Boustead Tunnel this year, far exceeding projections of about 54,000 acre-feet – close to average – in May. There were three peaks to the runoff and frequent storms added to snowpack or runoff during the last two months. The tunnel is still carrying about 200 acre-feet per day, but Reclamation is cutting off its releases from Twin Lakes today because there should be adequate storage space in that reservoir and Turquoise Lake, [Roy Vaughan, manager of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project for Reclamation] said. The runoff also came two weeks early in May, in the middle of a dry stretch…

[Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District] Total allocations will be about 65,500 acre-feet, which is based on the total amount brought over less transit loss, evaporation and balancing accounts with the Twin Lakes Canal & Reservoir Co. The committee will look at a staff proposal to allocate another 19,000 acre-feet to agriculture and municipal users, on top of 29,500 acre-feet already allocated. “We’re going to be able to fill everyone’s allocations, if they still want the water,” Hamilton said, explaining the additional water could arrive too late to use it this season for some irrigators. The allocations come with a small price tag, $7 an acre-foot for agricultural users, and has to be used within certain time frames that have been shortened by the late delivery. The district also has repaid the Pueblo Board of Water Works loan of 5,000 acre-feet to cover 2008 shortfalls.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

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