Runoff news: Grand County streams expected to peak (again) this week

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

Adding to flows will be increases from Lake Granby, which should top out at 2,400 to 2,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) by Monday to keep pace with runoff. “We’re on our way up to 2,500 cfs,” said Kara Lamb, spokesperson for the Bureau of Reclamation, which owns the Colorado-Big Thompson water delivery system. About 430 cfs will be released through the dam gates, the rest by way of the spillway, she said. As of Thursday, Lake Granby releases were up to 1,400 cfs, a large increase over the day before.

Meanwhile Willow Creek flows, which peaked last week, should see 960 cfs out of Willow Creek Dam. Especially at the confluence of the Colorado River and Willow Creek, flooding is expected for low-lying areas next week. “We’re not willing to say we’re past all ideas of flooding,” said Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District spokesperson Brian Werner, although due to mild June temperatures, 2011 has been an “ideal water runoff year,” he said.

Northern’s forecast was that 400,000 acre feet (an acre foot is enough to cover one acre with one foot of water) would run into Lake Granby this year — considered an all time record. So far, about 150,000 acre feet of that has made it to the lake. And at Lake Irene near the Continental Divide in Rocky Mountain National Park, measurements this week showed an equivalent of 21 inches of water in the snowpack, whereas about 5 inches would be considered normal…

On the main stem of the Colorado River, water forecasters are predicting the Kremmling gauge to show a secondary peak of about 9,000 cfs during the June 24-25 weekend…

Meanwhile, Denver Water has decreased its diversions through the Moffat Tunnel, meaning more water is flowing in the Fraser River. “But we’re not planning on turning (Moffat diversions) off,” said Denver Water’s Manager of Raw Water Supply Bob Steger, on Thursday. On Monday, June 13, water being diverted to Gross Reservoir through the tunnel was at a rate of 800 cfs, but by Thursday, that rate had dropped to a goal of about 400 cfs…

According to water forecasters, the Fraser River will remain at about 1,100 cfs, then peak next week at about 1,700 cfs.

Jim Dyer departs from the Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority

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From The Denver Post (Karen Crummy):

It’s unclear whether Dyer resigned or was fired as the Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority continues to grapple with the fallout from problems with the deal first revealed by The Denver Post in March. Two board members recently resigned because of conflicts of interest. Dyer declined to discuss the circumstances surrounding his sudden departure May 31 as government-relations director. But he left two weeks after The Post requested 4 1/2 months of Dyer’s e-mails to and from a number of individuals, including Robert Lembke, head of the United Water and Sanitation District…

Lembke and United are an integral part of the water deal, in charge of building a reservoir and delivering water rights to the ACWWA. Lembke is considered a divisive figure in Colorado water, using the power of his special district to buy and sell water up and down the Front Range.

Click through for more details and to read some of Dyer’s email correspondence.

More ACWWA coverage here.

The Pueblo Board of Water Works is looking at micro-hydropower to offset electrical operating costs

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The water board spends about $2.2 million on electricity each year, or about 7 percent of its $30 million budget. Energy costs could increase by $1.2 million annually with proposed rate increases, said Terry Book, deputy executive director. The water board has a 20-year-old plan to retrofit its water line from Pueblo Dam for hydroelectric generation, but it was not economical to build it in the past. The cost to install it in 1990 was $4 million, and the price of selling it to the power company at the time wasn’t high enough to make a deal worthwhile. Hydro would generate only 0.3-1.2 megawatts of electricity, which would only supply a fraction of the water board’s needs.

The water board also could look at solar panels and wind generation.

More Pueblo Board of Water Works coverage here.