Pueblo Dam: Key infrastructure for the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project


From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

…despite the prominent presence of fun at Lake Pueblo, its primary purpose is to store water for the farms and cities of the Arkansas River basin, as well as provide flood protection.

Built as terminal storage for the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project, Lake Pueblo has taken on other uses over the years. Because it is not always full, excess-capacity contracts with the Bureau of Reclamation allow others to use it. The most controversial contracts have been awarded to Aurora, which uses the Fry-Ark Project to take water out of the Arkansas River basin — a purpose not included in the 1962 Fryingpan-Arkansas Act. The Southeastern Colorado and Lower Arkansas Valley water conservancy districts waged protests against that practice, but settled differences through additional payments and conditions placed on Aurora.

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The winter water storage program began voluntarily in 1975, after the completion of Pueblo Dam, but had been a part of project planning since the 1930s.

“We had dirt ditches and deep canals that would fill with weeds and snow. You would spend days cleaning them out, and they’d fill again when you got your next run,” [John Schweizer] said, recalling freezing winter days.

“As far as I’m concerned, the Pueblo Reservoir was the greatest improvement to the valley. It has been a real boon to agriculture.”

More Fryingpan-Arkansas Project coverage here and here.

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