Runoff/precipitation news: Fryingpan-Arkansas Project water users will receive their full appropriation this season


From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The project so far has brought over 94,000 acre-feet of water, which is the second-highest amount of water imported by the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project since 1972, after the completion of the Boustead Tunnel from the Fryingpan River into Turquoise Lake…

“The water will be available at a time when flows in this basin are beginning to drop off,” said Bob Hamilton, engineering director for the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District…

The Pueblo Board of Water Works — entitled to 10 percent of the project’s yield — took no water, and like Colorado Springs and Aurora, even leased excess water to agriculture in the Arkansas Valley. As a result, nearly 60,000 acre-feet of Fry-Ark water — roughly the equivalent of annual diversions to the Bessemer Ditch — will go to farmers, the vast majority of whom irrigate east of Pueblo, where a yearlong drought has made the additional water critical.

The Boustead Tunnel was still bringing over about 500 acre-feet per day Monday, but the amount is slowly dropping, said Roy Vaughan, Fry-Ark manager for the Bureau of Reclamation. “There is still a little snow very high in the mountains, but it’s dropped off,” Vaughan said…

The river was running at 1,380 cubic feet per second west of the Royal Gorge on Monday, about one-third of its highest levels this year but above average for late July. There are no advisories on rafting or kayaking in the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, but boaters are reminded to watch for changing conditions.

From the Associated Press via The Columbus Republic:

Farmers tell the Greeley Tribune they anticipate an average yield. But they say recent afternoon storms in the area are giving their crops “water stains,” which can indicate mold. Farmers won’t know how their crops have done in the wet weather until they receive germination tests.

“What we need now is hot, dry, breezy weather,” Bill Markham of M&M Farms near Berthoud said after test cutting in his fields Thursday afternoon but stopping early due to the amount of moisture still on the crop. “The only way we’re going to make any progress is if we get the rain to stay out of here.”

From the Summit Daily News (Janice Kurbjin):

With inflow to Dillon Reservoir dropping [ed. as of July 19] substantially from last week, Denver Water is focusing on topping off the water storage area — which means cutting the outflow through the dam from about 1,600 cfs to about 1,350 cfs. The reservoir level is 1.21 feet below the spillway. The inflow to the reservoir dropped to 1,446 cubic feet per second Sunday, and the reservoir elevation dropped 0.09 feet. Early last week, inflows had nearly reached 2,200 cfs, but by the end of the week had dropped to just over 1,950 cfs.

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