Colorado-Big Thompson Project update: 1400 cfs and rising in the Upper Colorado River below Lake Granby

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From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

The gates at Granby Dam have been cracked open above the spillway so that water is pushing over the spillway. While the reservoir is still about 20 feet down from full, water is pushing over the spillway gates because the lip of those gates is also about 20 feet down from a full water elevation.

Consequently, we are seeing releases to the Colorado River below the dam steadily increase as run-off inflow increases. As the run-off inflow comes up, we are seeing the original plan we at Reclamation and Northern Water introduced back in April materialize.

We had originally forecasted that releases from Granby could get as high as 2500 cfs–and that is what we anticipate will happen come the top of next week, around Monday or Tuesday June 20 and 21. Today, releases from Granby Dam got upwards of 1400 cfs. They will continue to increase through the weekend.

Inflows to Shadow Mountain Reservoir, which releases to Granby, and other inflows to Granby, are on the rise. They bump up especially at night, when melted snow that has traveled down from high mountain elevations reaches the reservoirs. Today, Shadow Mountain was releasing about 2600 cfs.

Willow Creek Reservoir, whose drainage basin sits at a slightly lower elevation, has possibly seen its snow melt run-off peak (although I wouldn’t say that is certain). Inflow to the reservoir has dropped off since last week when it was as high as 1300 cfs. It is now steadily bypassing about 960 cfs of run-off inflows.

Next week, when Granby’s releases reach their high mark, the Colorado River below its junction with Willow Creek will likely have flows upwards of 3300 cfs.

From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

Just a quick note that elevations are still on the rise for Horsetooth Reservoir, which will be above its average water level elevation for the coming Father’s Day weekend. And, Carter Lake remains full!

Fryingpan-Arkansas Project update: 850 cfs in the Fryingpan River below Ruedi Reservoir

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From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

Last night [June 15], we saw inflows to Ruedi Reservoir bump up. As a result, we increased releases today. The increases were in 50 cfs increments, one at noon and one in just a few minutes. The total 100 cfs increase will put the discharge from the reservoir at about 775 cfs. With another 75 cfs still coming down the Rocky Fork, flows by the Ruedi Dam gage should soon read about 850 cfs.

More Fryingpan-Arkansas Project coverage here.

Runoff news: Many eyes are still on the Cache la Poudre, there is a lot of water yet to come off

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From The Greeley Tribune (Sharon Dunn):

With 60 percent of the snowpack still pinched into the mountains up the Poudre Canyon, there’s always the chance of something going wrong. If the mountains receive a lot of rain, for example, state water officials have said, “all bets are off.”

Local officials are paying heed to such concerns. “We respect what this can do,” said Joel Hemesath, public works director for Greeley. “Snow is a dangerous thing, and rain on snow, things can change real quick. We’re not letting our guard down by any means and we’re not going to empty the sandbags.”[…]

At the mouth of the canyon, water levels have only slightly risen in the past couple of days. On Thursday, the river registered 2,860 cubic feet per second, not quite as high as last week, but up since Monday’s low. The slowing flows prompted state water officials to declare the Poudre had peaked. Cooler-than-expected temperatures and a tight snowpack have made runoff slower than officials had expected. Even if extra water comes down, Poudre River water commissioner George Varra said, local irrigation ditches that should be running at full speed could help ease off 1,800 cubic feet per second…

“We look at both Upper Colorado and Poudre (basins), and from both we figured we’ll have somewhere around 400,000 acre feet of runoff this year, and it’s run off roughly 150,000 acre feet so far.”

Arkansas Valley Conduit: Most communities have signed on the bottom line for the project environmental impact study

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Nearly all potential water users in the Arkansas Valley Conduit project have signed memorandums of understanding to participate in the Environmental Impact Study for the project…

Two of the communities, Valley Water and Lamar, have yet to sign agreements, but are expected to do so at future meetings, said Phil Reynolds, project manager. The agreements define how local matching costs of the EIS will be shared, based on projected use of the conduit…

The EIS also includes an excess-capacity master contract that would allow long-term temporary storage in Lake Pueblo for some of the conduit participants and 12 other water providers in the Arkansas River basin. All of the excess-capacity MOUs have been signed.

More Arkansas Valley Conduit coverage here and here.

Arkansas Valley Super Ditch: The IBCC and CWCB are watching closely to see if alternative ag transfers can be a model for the South Platte Basin as well

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

John Stulp, Gov. John Hickenlooper’s water adviser, said a proposed trial lease by the Super Ditch to El Paso County water users next year is a better way to test the proposal than state legislation proposed this year. “HB1068 was shot down in short order, and for good reason because it wasn’t well vetted,” Stulp said. “The sponsors have thought of a way to do it without going to the Legislature.”

“The rest of the state is looking to this part of the state to see how the lease-fallowing program works,” Stulp said. Stulp, along with Colorado Water Conservation Board Executive Director Jennifer Gimbel, addressed the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District board at its monthly meeting Thursday…

He praised the Arkansas Basin Roundtable, one of nine set up in 2005 when the IBCC was formed, for showing leadership at the state level. Among its accomplishments was the formation of a Flaming Gorge pipeline task force in conjunction with the Metro Roundtable. The task force will meet June 29 to decide how the state should proceed on two proposals to build a Flaming Gorge pipeline. The pipeline is the brainchild of Fort Collins entrepreneur Aaron Million. A Colorado-Wyoming Coalition, led by Parker Water and the South Metro Water Supply Authority is doing its own study about whether to pursue a Flaming Gorge pipeline. “We’ll look at the pros and the cons, but it’s an appropriate time to get that started,” Stulp said.

More Arkansas Valley Super Ditch coverage here.

Pueblo: The board of water works releases 2011 testing data

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

“The report that was mailed to customers shows only the tests where we found something in the water,” said Don Colalancia, manager for water quality and treatment. “We do thousands of tests throughout the year.”[…]

Testing found traces of barium, fluoride, nitrates, nitrites and selenium in the water, at levels well below the federal standards. Turbidity, trihalomethanes, haloacetic acids, sodium and microscopic particles also were measured, and again to be well below acceptable levels…

The report also lists sources of water. Pueblo gets all of its water supply from Lake Pueblo, which is fed by the Arkansas River and its tributaries to the west.

More water treatment coverage here.