Drought news: Horsetooth Reservoir at 36% of capacity and dropping

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From CBS Denver:

According to the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, Horsetooth Reservoir is at 36 percent of capacity and continuing to dwindle…

[Glen Werth] has owned the marina for 15 years. This is the first year he’s ever had to close down in the middle of summer because of a lack of water.

Meanwhile, the City of Fort Collins is blending Colorado-Big Thompson Project water from Horsetooth Reservoir with water from the Cache La Poudre River. The latter source has experienced fouling from mudslides and ash since the High Park Fire earlier in the summer. Here’s a report from the the city via the Fort Collins Coloradodan. Here’s an excerpt:

Fort Collins Utilities is again blending water from the Cache la Poudre River with water from Horsetooth Reservoir to provide city drinking water.

The city temporarily stopped using Poudre River water this summer, as runoff from the High Park Fire turned the river black with sediment at times. The water goes through the city’s treatment process and will be treated to assure it is in full compliance with all safe drinking water rules and regulations, according to a city release.

Activated carbon also will be added to the blend to remove potential taste and odor compounds due to fire damage in the Poudre watershed, and the city will continue to monitor effects of fire-related runoff on the water.

The city is also monitoring weather conditions in the burn area and can shut off the Poudre River supply if a storm or other event affects water quality. The water supply will remain shut down until water quality returns within normal limits, according to the city release.

From the Longmont Times-Call (Scott Rochat):

As of Friday, McIntosh Lake was only 45 percent full. By itself, that’s not unusual; farmers own 55 percent of the lake and don’t hesitate to use it for irrigation. But it is unusual to have Burch Lake down at the same time — at 57 percent of capacity, according to city officials.

Now that’s a dry year…

How dry is it? Put it this way. From June through August, Longmont saw just a trickle above 2 inches of moisture — less than half what a normal summer would bring. The parched month now coming to an end is the fourth driest August ever recorded, according to Times-Call weather expert Dave Larison…

And there may be some relief later in the year — if your idea of relief includes a snow blower, that is. According to Larison, long-range conditions appear to be setting up for an El Niño season, a Pacific Ocean climate pattern that usually means more rain and snow along the Front Range. Some of Longmont’s heaviest snowfalls have come in El Niño seasons, most recently in the winter of 2009-2010, which dumped 72.3 inches of snow on the city.

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