Drought/runoff news: Turquoise Lake up 10 feet in the last month #COdrought



From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

A rising river lifts all spirits.

“My cellphone exploded Saturday morning with guys from all over the state calling me to ask if the gauge readings in Pueblo were right,” said Bob Walker, who owns The Edge, a kayak supply store in Pueblo. “There were a lot more people in the Whitewater Park who changed their other plans for the Memorial Day weekend.” In the middle of a drought, a big river is a big deal.

Not to dampen anyone’s glee, the river is only at about 75 percent of the average for this time of year and is likely to fluctuate over the next few weeks as temperatures rise and fall in the mountains. The river levels typically rise as the snowpack begins to melt, and also depend on the needs of water users, reservoir levels and legal demands on how cities store water.

Pueblo’s flows reached about 1,800 cubic feet per second over the Memorial Day weekend, and were boosted by the natural surge from runoff as well as releases from Pueblo Dam by Colorado Springs and Aurora, which are exchanging and storing water higher up in Turquoise and Twin Lakes, said Roy Vaughan, manager of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project for the Bureau of Reclamation.

The project brings water across the Continental Divide into Turquoise Lake and officials project about 87 percent of average yield. That, coupled with storage constructed by Colorado Springs, Aurora and Pueblo, should help bring up lake levels in Lake County. Turquoise is now at 30 percent of capacity, while Twin Lakes is at 60 percent, Vaughan said. The water level at Turquoise has risen almost 10 feet in the last month from Fryingpan-Arkansas.

From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Bobby Magill):

Thanks to April’s big snows affecting mostly Northern Colorado, Fort Collins soon might lift its water restrictions because it will have an ample water supply not just for this year, but for 2014, too.

“The snows that we got have improved our (water) supply situation, and it’s getting to the point where we can go off restrictions,” Fort Collins Water Resources Manager Donnie Dustin said Tuesday.

The Level 1 water restrictions that remain in place within the city limit lawn watering to twice each week and only between 6 p.m. and 10 a.m.

Dustin said he expects the water restrictions to be lifted. A final decision is expected later this week, with a formal announcement expected Friday.

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