Northern Water’s fall water users’ meeting — November 7


Here’s the pitch:

Northern Water’s Fall Water Users’ Meeting will be held Wednesday, Nov. 7 at the University of Northern Colorado, University Center Ballroom, 2045 10th Avenue in Greeley starting at 8 a.m.

Go to the November Calendar page to register for meeting. The online registration deadline is Monday, Nov. 5. Business group registration is now available.

The meeting is a forum to discuss the current water situation and water-related issues. The 2012 meeting will include
updates on the current water year, the Northern Integrated Supply Project and the Windy Gap Firming Project. Other
presentations will be a video of Northern Water’s 75th Anniversary celebration and a discussion of the impact of wildfires on water supply. See the meeting agenda.

More coverage from the North Forty News:

Northern Water’s fall water users’ meeting on Nov. 7 will feature two panel discussions on Colorado wildfires’ impacts to water supplies. Panelists include Lisa Voytko, water production manager for City of Fort Collins, and Jon Monson, director of the water and sewer department for Greeley.

Northern Water hosts the meetings each spring and fall to discuss the seasonal water supply and other important water-related issues. The Nov. 7 meeting will include a review of the drought-ridden 2012 water year and updates on the Northern Integrated Supply and Windy Gap Firming projects.

Patty Limerick, Center of the American West director, is the keynote speaker over lunch, which is provided for pre-registrants. The meeting will be at UNC’s University Center Ballroom, 2045 10th Avenue in Greeley, and starts with check-in at 7:30 a.m. and speakers at 8 a.m.

Members of the public may register through Nov. 5 using the calendar link at or by leaving a voicemail at 970-622-2220. The voicemail should include attendees’ names and affiliations and whether they will be eating lunch.

Northern Water is a public agency created in 1937 to contract with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to build the Colorado-Big Thompson Project, which collects water on the West Slope and delivers it to the East Slope through a 13-mile tunnel that runs underneath Rocky Mountain National Park. Northern Water’s boundaries encompass portions of eight counties, about 640,000 irrigated acres and a population of about 850,000. For more information, visit

More Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District coverage here.

Live Water Supply Briefing: 2012 Water Year Review and 2013 Look Ahead — Thursday November 8, Wednesday December 5


Click here for all the details.

More Colorado River Basin coverage here and here.

Colorado-Big Thompson Project fall operations update


From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

It’s that time of year again: maintenance season for the Colorado-Big Thompson Project. If you are receiving this e-mail it is because our maintenance schedule will be affecting a reservoir or river flows in which you are interested. Because all of these operations tie together, it’s a lengthy e-mail, so please bear with me:

Monday, Nov. 5: We will stop diverting through the Adams Tunnel. This will temporarily slow the draw on Granby Reservoir because we will not be pumping up to Shadow Mt. Reservoir and the Tunnel. Releases from Granby to the Colorado River should remain at or above 20 cfs at the Y gage for the rest of the calendar year.

This same day, we will also stop moving water from Lake Estes through the Olympus Tunnel to the southern power arm of the C-BT so we can start some regular maintenance projects on that section.

Water that would normally hit those three power plants will instead be released from Olympus Dam to the Big Thompson River, bumping its flows up from around 40 cfs to 150 cfs. We will change the release from the dam in the early morning hours of Nov. 5 before 5:30 a.m.

The project water released to the Big T River will be recaptured at the Dille Diversion Dam in the narrows section of the canyon. The Dille redirects the water back on course to Horsetooth Reservoir via the Charles Hansen Feeder Canal.

With 150 cfs being released from Lake Estes and no water coming in, the water level elevation at Estes will start to drop a little over a foot a day for about a week.

Monday, Nov. 12: The water level at Lake Estes will hit an elevation of about 7460 feet by day’s end. We will hold it there until the second week of December.

While water through the tunnels is off and the Lake Estes water level is down, our maintenance work will be on. During this same time, the Estes Sanitation District will be performing sand removal from the western side of Lake Estes.

Water levels at Marys Lake will not be drawn down this year.

Nov. 13: Delivery of C-BT water from Olympus Dam to Dille Dam via the Big Thompson River will stop. Releases to the river will go back to around 40 cfs—the typical native flow of the Big Thompson River this time of year. We will start delivering C-BT water from Pinewood Reservoir.

Pinewood, downstream of Lake Estes and Olympus Dam on the C-BT’s southern power arm, will stay at a high water elevation through the first part of the maintenance work. With no water coming from the West Slope, it will take over the role of delivering project water when Lake Estes hits its 7460 foot water level elevation. Because Pinewood’s own water levels are currently high, residents near and visitors to Pinewood will likely not notice its water level start to decline until the last week or two of November. It will continue to drop until the first week of December.

Dec. 7-14: All annual maintenance projects scheduled for this fall on the C-BT start to wrap up. Diversions through the Adams Tunnel will resume, the water level elevation at Lake Estes will start to rise, and it will resume delivering water through Olympus Tunnel to the southern power arm. Pinewood’s water elevation will start to come back up.

Deliveries to Horsetooth Reservoir will experience a slowdown during the middle of the maintenance work, but continue through December. The reservoir will officially start to refill in mid-to-late December, as is its normal schedule.

More Colorado-Big Thompson Project coverage here.

Upper Colorado River Basin Water Conference November 8-9 #CORiver


From the Grand Junction Free Press (Hannah Holm):

The conference, organized by CMU’s Water Center, will bring together water experts, policy makers and stakeholders from Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Wyoming and Nevada for presentations on how we can better understand and respond to drier conditions.

Conference-related events begin Wednesday evening Nov. 7 and continue through Friday afternoon Nov. 9. All events will be held upstairs in CMU’s University Center and can be registered and paid for separately — just go to for full details. If you pre-register by noon Monday, Nov. 5, you’ll get a free parking pass.

• Nov. 7, 7 p.m. — Reception/Film screening – $15: Things kick off on an entertaining note with a reception and viewing of the “Remains of a River” film from the Colorado College “State of the Rockies” program. The film is about boating from the headwaters of the Green River to the mucky remains of the Colorado River delta in Mexico and includes great river footage as well as funny and sharp commentary from the filmmaker/adventurers. Your $15 lets you view the film, meet the filmmakers and have two complimentary drinks.

• Nov. 8-9, beginning at 7:30 a.m. each day – conference panels plus networking breakfasts and lunches – $100: On Nov. 8, panels address the impacts of dust on snow and bark beetles; understanding and managing streamflows; agricultural efficiencies and water sharing; how to meet environmental water needs in cooperation with other uses; and household water conservation: how to do it, and its role in meeting future demands.

On Nov. 9, leaders of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Colorado River Basin Supply and Demand Study (due to be completed next month) will discuss the analysis and conclusions in the study, and a panel of stakeholders and experts will provide their reflections on how the study was conducted and what it means for managing water into the future — from Denver to Steamboat Springs to central Utah. The final panel will feature top water planners from Colorado, New Mexico and Utah discussing their states’ approaches to meeting future needs in the context of uncertain hydrology and obligations under interstate water compacts. Your $100 gets you into all the presentations as well as breakfast and lunch both days.

• Nov. 8, 7 p.m. – dinner with keynote address by John Stulp, special policy advisor to Gov. Hickenlooper on water – $25: Stulp, a farmer and rancher from Prowers County and former state Commissioner of Agriculture, also chairs Colorado’s Interbasin Compact Committee, which is seeking to work with stakeholders from each of the state’s river basins to develop a statewide water plan by 2016.

For more information on the conference and related events, check out or call the Water Center at 970-248-1968.

More Colorado River Basin coverage here and here.

Precipitation news: Below average numbers for Breckenridge in October #CODrought


From the Summit County Citizens Voice (Bob Berwyn):

At 0.5 inches, precipitation [ed. in Dillon] for the month was slightly less than half of average (1.06 inches, with measurable rain or snow on only six days. And despite the cool temps, the snow total for the month (3 inches) was also slightly less than have of average (7.7 inches)…

In Breckenridge, long-time weather observer Rick Bly tallied 8 inches of snow in October, just 63 percent of average (12.3 inches) — and that that’s not the best sign for the winter, based on past statistics. Snow and rain combined added up to just 0.72 inches of moisture, which is 57 percent of average. For Bly, October is the best indicator month for the rest of the season, and 70 percent of the time, a below-average October is followed by below-average snowfall for the winter.

Here’s the October Climate Summary from the National Weather Service.