Arkansas River: Streamflow below Lake Pueblo

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From The Pueblo Chieftaian (Chris Woodka):

Flows from the dam were cut from about 350 cubic feet per second Saturday to 70 cfs on Sunday, as irrigators began a program that allows them to store winter flows for use later in the year. The winter water program was started by ditch companies under an agreement with the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District in 1975, after Pueblo Dam was completed. It became a decreed water program in 1984. Water is stored in Lake Pueblo, as well as several downstream reservoirs, from Nov. 15 to March 15 of the following year…

Under a recovery of yield program, created by an intergovernmental agreement in 2004, a minimum flow of 100 cfs below Pueblo Dam is maintained throughout the winter months. The flow is calculated at the river gauge above Pueblo, with flows through the state fish hatchery added. This week, flows above Pueblo have been between 60-65 cfs, while fish hatchery flows have been between 30-40 cfs. “What we’ve agreed to is that the flow won’t go under 100 cfs, with retroactive curtailment of exchanges after March 15,” said Alan Ward, water resources administrator with the Pueblo Board of Water Works. Ward supervises the recovery of yield program. That decision was made last year, after flows in the Arkansas River dropped to nearly nothing in 2005 and were in danger of running low again in 2007. The IGA among Pueblo, the Pueblo water board, Colorado Springs, Aurora, Fountain and the Southeastern district calls for curtailment of exchanges when the river drops below 100 cfs…

In practice, Colorado Springs is the only IGA participant that exchanges in the winter months, storing water out of priority in Lake Pueblo in exchange for return flows, mostly from treated sewage, down Fountain Creek.

More Arkansas River Basin coverage here.

2 thoughts on “Arkansas River: Streamflow below Lake Pueblo

  1. Is there expected to any acre-foot shortfall expected in the arkansas basin this year?
    Are the front range cities of colorado springs and the pikes peak area going to have enough water this year?

    • Gerald,

      There should be plenty of water for each city as storage is in good shape from last year. The Arkansas Basin is at 110% of average snowpack. Colorado Springs gets some water from the west slope where it’s been dry so replacing consumption may be a problem for next year.

      John Orr

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