From The Durango Herald (Dale Rodebaugh):
Test releases of water, which will occur for about three weeks, accomplish two objectives, first-fill engineer Tyler Artichoker said. “If you build something, you test it to see how it functions,” Artichoker said. “But the tests also will show us how the system works when a project sponsor downstream requests water.”[…]
Test releases, ranging from 5 to 200 cubic feet per second, will show how well drop structures – basins that slow the flow of water and dissipate its energy – work. The basins in effect eliminate 200 feet of the 500-foot drop in elevation from the dam to the river, Artichoker said. There are 11 drop structures in Basin Creek from the dam outlet works to its confluence with the Animas River five miles away. The lower stretch of Basin Creek was left in its natural state except for the drop structures, built of grout-covered rip-rap. Test releases will establish how long it takes for water to reach the Animas, Artichoker said. The information will indicate to project partners in New Mexico how much lead time is required when they want water.