Fryingpan-Arkansas Project update: Water year 2011 saw the second-largest diversions in the history of the project

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From The Aspen Times (Scott Condon):

A total of 98,800 acre feet of water was diverted east via the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project from spring to late August, according to Kara Lamb, spokeswoman for the reclamation bureau. “It’s the second largest diversion in the operating history of the project,” Lamb said…

The record diversion was 110,000 acre feet in 1984, Lamb said. The average diversion over the last decade has been 54,000 acre feet per year. This year’s volume was 83 percent above the average. To put the 98,800 acre feet into perspective — that’s just slightly below the amount of water that Ruedi Reservoir holds when it is full.

The Fryingpan-Arkansas Project uses 17 dams and diversion structures to capture water from streams. The system also taps Hunter Creek in the Roaring Fork River basin. Nine tunnels with a combined length of 27 miles funnel it into the collection system. The water is forced through the Charles H. Boustead Tunnel under the Continental Divide to Turquoise Lake near Leadville. A plumbing system on the east side of the Divide ultimately takes the water to Aurora, Colorado Springs, Pueblo and farms in the Arkansas River Valley…

In the headwaters of the Roaring Fork River basin, the volume of water diverted this year was about 63,000 acre feet, according to the river district. Water has been diverted since 1935 in what’s now known as the Independence Pass Transmountain Division System. That would make it one of the larger, but not the largest, diversion years, according to a previous interview with an official in the company that manages the system. The Independence Pass diversion system usually diverts about 39,000 acre feet annually.

More Fryingpan-Arkansas Project coverage here.

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