From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):
As we near the Holidays, we near the wrap up of annual maintenance on the Colorado-Big Thompson Project. Immediately following Christmas, we will begin bringing water back through the east slope of the C-BT system.
Marys Lake, which has been drawn down for annual maintenance at the power plant, will begin to fill again starting December 26.
Operations at Lake Estes, which has maintained average water level elevations through most of December, will be unchanged.
Next week, the Pole Hill Canal, which helps bring water from Lake Estes to the C-BT’s southern power arm, will start to water up again, in stages. Our contractor on that project has finished work early and we will be testing the canal the last week of the year. Check out the news release announcing the project’s completion.
As Pole Hill Canal waters up, the water level at Pinewood Reservoir will slowly start to rise.
The water elevation at Carter Lake has continued to slowly drop as we have run Unit #3 in reverse to generate hydro-electric power and also send water down the canal towards Horsetooth. Next week, Unit #3 will be on and off as a power generating unit. On December 30, however, we have scheduled to switch back to pump mode and water will once again pump up to Carter Lake.
A little bit of water will continue going to Horsetooth Reservoir via the Charles Hansen Feeder Canal. Horsetooth is still high in water elevation for this time of year. It is currently at an elevation of about 5408 and did not drop below 5400 in 2011. That is unusual.