Runoff news: Horsetooth Reservoir to fill for the first time since 2004

A picture named horsetoothreservoir.jpg

From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Bobby Magill):

“We do think Horsetooth is going to continue to rise,” said U.S. Bureau of Reclamation spokeswoman Kara Lamb. “We’re going to get pretty close to full.” With the sustained runoff season this year because of the mountains’ uncommonly tremendous snowpack and a steady march of rainstorms across the mountains recently, the Bureau of Reclamation has stopped taking water deliveries from the Colorado River through the Adams Tunnel, she said Thursday.

The snowmelt and rain have allowed junior water rights for the Colorado-Big Thompson Project east of the Continental Divide to come into priority, allowing local reservoirs to fill…,/p>

Farmers who have rights to Horsetooth Reservoir water haven’t been taking much of it because recent rainfall has prevented them from needing it, she said…

Carter Lake near Loveland already filled once this year, but the Bureau of Reclamation drew it down and now it’s starting to fill again, she said.

From the Valley Courier (Ruth Heide):

Meeting with members of the Valley-wide water group, the Rio Grande Roundtable, on Tuesday, Colorado Division of Water Resources Division 3 Engineer Craig Cotten described the unexpected turn of events on the river. “It’s kind of a strange situation. It’s kind of a strange year,” Cotten said.

For the last several years the Valley’s rivers that satisfy the Rio Grande Compact have peaked earlier than usual, so this year when the snowpack registered below normal, less water was expected, Cotten explained. “We thought we weren’t going to have that much water. Here it comes now,” Cotten said. He said just in the last 24 hours (before the Tuesday meeting) rains had bumped up the rivers in the Valley…

One of the places his office had to “go from here” was to increase the annual forecasted flow on both the Rio Grande and Conejos River systems, which means more water must now be delivered downstream during the irrigation season to meet Rio Grande Compact obligations. And that means higher curtailments on ditch diversions for irrigators. The annual forecasted flow for the Rio Grande at Del Norte is now 535,000 acre feet, of which the state will owe 138,900 acre feet, or 22 percent, to downstream states, according to Cotten…

To reach Colorado’s new obligation to downstream states through the Rio Grande Compact, 22 percent of the flows during the rest of the irrigation season will have to be sent downriver. “So we have got a 22 percent curtailment on the Rio Grande right now,” he said.

The curtailment on the Conejos River system is even higher. The forecasted annual flows on the Conejos increased to an estimated 254,000 acre feet, of which 72,000 acre feet would be required downstream to meet the Rio Grande Compact. That equates to a 40-percent curtailment, Cotten said…

Cotten said the gauging station on Sangre de Cristo Creek by Fort Garland is registering significantly lower than average flows – “still very significantly below average.” The gauging station on Saguache Creek is also reflecting “significantly lower than average” flows. “We haven’t gotten anywhere close to our average on Saguache Creek,” Cotten said.

From The Pueblo Chieftain:

Flow levels on the Arkansas River are beginning to decline within the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area and advisories have been lifted for two sections of river, The Numbers and the Royal Gorge. An advisory remains for Pine Creek. Flows below Buena Vista were at 2,600 cubic feet per second Friday and dropping after several weeks of high runoff.

Leave a Reply