Wellington Lake re-opening under consideration

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From The Fairplay Flume:

The future of Wellington Lake continues to remain uncertain because of the incompletion of an investigation into the impacts that recreational use has on the water and the property. John Akolt, the attorney for the Wellington Reservoir Co., said the board is conducting an investigation with the help of a private contractor, and a decision could be made soon. “I would assume in the next couple of months, certainly before summer,” he said…

Wellington Lake, which is in Jefferson County east of Bailey on Stoney Pass Road, the continuation of Park County Road 68 in Jefferson County, closed last October to recreational use, and the employees there were fired…

Akolt said the concern of the board was that the lake’s popularity had grown to the point where the health of the land and the water could be damaged. He said the board of directors voted to close recreational use.

More South Platte River Basin coverage here.

Lake Pueblo storage update

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Update: From KKTV.com (Jason Aubrey):

According to Vaughan, there are several reasons for the vast amount of water. One reason is the plentiful amount of precipitation that’s been falling for the last five years. The last time the reservoir was this full, a drought devastated its supply. It was down to a quarter of its capacity, or just over 21 billion gallons in October 2003. Another reason is because water has been moved downstream from several lakes to make space for Spring run-off from the western slope. With snowpack this year currently near the “average” range, the bureau hopes to capture 14 to 16 billion gallons of water. The third reason for the high water level is the Winter Water Storage program. Before the conservation program, farmers would simply flood their fields in the winter. Most of this water would eventually evaporate or move downstream and become useless before it could be used. Presently, the winter water storage system allows groups to store water in the reservoirs Flood Control space from November 15 through March 15.

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

As of Monday, the lake’s level was at 4,881.52 feet in elevation, meaning more than 261,200 acre-feet of water is behind Pueblo Dam — with more coming in daily. Lake Pueblo has not been that full since March 2000, according to Bureau of Reclamation records…

Federal rules on operation of the dam require storage to be capped at 256,949 acre-feet after April 15 to ensure the dam has the capacity to contain a flood. “Some of the canal companies plan to start taking out carry-over water by April 1,” said Roy Vaughan, manager of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project. Farmers are storing about 15,000 acre-feet of winter water and project water in Lake Pueblo in accounts that must be cleared by May 1. About half of that is expected to be released by April 15. That still would leave about 5,000 acre-feet too much in storage, and the water could be spilled.

Part of the reason Lake Pueblo is full is that Reclamation has moved water from Twin Lakes and Turquoise Lake to make room for imports through the Boustead Tunnel later this year. Right now, snowpack in the Roaring Fork basin is about 89 percent of average, and 98 percent in the Arkansas River basin. Under similar conditions, imports of the year have totalled 45,000-50,000 acre-feet, Vaughan said.

More Fryingpan-Arkansas Project coverage here.