Colorado-Big Thompson update: Reclamation is moving water through the Adams Tunnel

Check out the photo of a low Carter Lake.

From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

Just a quick note to let you know that we are finishing up our annual maintenance on the east slope of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project. That means, we have begun to once again divert water through the Adams Tunnel from Granby and Shadow Mountain reservoirs on the West Slope.

We began the trans-basin diversions last week. With water starting to come back through the tunnel, the water level at Lake Estes began to rise. Tonight, the reservoir is at an elevation of about 7470 feet. That’s roughly five feet down; pretty average for this time of year.

Yesterday, 12-12-12, we began sending water through Olympus Tunnel to Pinewood Reservoir. Today, the reservoir started at an elevation of about 6563 feet and is on the rise.

This morning, we turned the pump on to Carter Lake. With the hot and dry summer and fall, the water level elevation at Carter dropped to 36% of its full content; an elevation of 5686 feet, or about 73 feet down from full. With the pump back on, water levels should start slowly ticking up again.

Likewise, we are once again sending water to Horsetooth; although with the pump on to Carter, inflows to the reservoir will likely fluctuate between 100-200 cfs. Horsetooth got down to a water level elevation of roughly 5377 feet, or 44% full. It’s water level will now slowly start rising, too.

More Colorado-Big Thompson Project coverage here.

Colorado Water Congress Annual Convention January 30 — February 1


Here’s the link to the registration page. Here’s the pitch:

Colorado Water Congress Annual Convention News
For more than half a century, the Colorado Water Congress Annual Convention has been widely recognized throughout Colorado and beyond as the definitive venue for learning about the state’s water. The 2013 Annual Convention is now just over 7 weeks away. We will send numerous informational updates about the convention – look for Colorado Water Congress Annual Convention News.

Convention Dates
Wednesday, January 30 through Friday, February 1, 2013
Follows CWCB meeting on January 28 and 29

Convention Theme
Setting the Water Community Table
What’s On Our Plate for 2013

Stakeholders, Public Invited to Community Meetings about South Platte Wells


Here’s the release from Colorado State University (Jennifer Dimas):

Conflict between groundwater and surface water users on the South Platte River has been a concern in Colorado. At issue currently is whether the strict augmentation of water supplies now required of those who use wells is actually over-augmenting the alluvial aquifer, causing damage from high water tables.

The Colorado Water Institute at Colorado State University is studying the issue under the direction of the state legislature. Members of the CWI study team will meet with stakeholders and the public in Longmont, Sterling and Gilcrest, Colo., in January to inform people about the study and to facilitate dialogue about the issues.

The meetings are free and open to the public. The format for all three meetings will be the same. They will be held from 1 – 3:30 p.m. Jan. 8 at the Southwest Weld County Building, 4209 Weld County Rd 24 in Longmont; 6 – 8:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at the Hays Student Center Ballroom, Northeast Junior College, 100 College Avenue in Sterling; and 6 – 8:30 p.m. Jan. 24 at Valley High School, 1001 Birch Street in Gilcrest.

Earlier this year, Colorado House Bill 12-1278 was passed, authorizing the first comprehensive study since the landmark study of 1968 that preceded the “Water Right Determination and Administration Act of 1969.” That act was Colorado’s attempt to bring groundwater under the same prior appropriation system as surface water rights.

“It’s time for the state to evaluate the relative success of augmentation plans authorized by the 1969 Act to meet the dual goals of protecting senior surface water diverters and maximizing the use of both groundwater and surface waters of the state,” said Rep. Randy Fischer, one of the bill’s sponsors.

CSU’s work collecting and analyzing available data is intended to bring objectivity to this polarizing issue. Results are due to the state legislature in December 2013. Reagan Waskom, CWI director and head of the study, said that his study team hopes to raise the level of conversation from contentious debate to respectful dialogue—an important role of a land-grant university.

“Gov. Hickenlooper recently touted Colorado as a state where the high altitude gives us the ability to tackle our problems through creative collaboration. We are going to take him up on the challenge,” said Waskom.

Joe Frank and Robert Sakata, two state water leaders often seen to be on opposite sides of the issue, have agreed to engage in a facilitated-dialogue about the topic as part of the January community meetings.

For more information about the community meetings and about the study, visit

More South Platte River Basin coverage here.

Weekly Climate, Water and Drought Assessment of the Upper Colorado River Basin #CODrought


Click on the thumbnail graphic for the precipitation summary. Here’s the link to all the summaries from the Colorado Climate Center.

More Colorado River Basin coverage here and here.