From the Fort Collins Coloradan (Jacy Marmaduke):
…consistently hot temperature and little rain put the big drain on in late summer, as farmers called for more irrigation water. The reservoir on Friday was 61 percent of capacity, which is 125 percent of the average for Oct. 16.
Northern Water spokesman Zach Allen said what all that means is the reservoir is in good shape heading out of the agricultural irrigation season.
High reservoir levels at the end of 2014 coupled with a wet spring meant farmers diverted less water from the reservoir during the spring and most of the summer, water resources manager Sarah Smith said. That allowed for an excellent boating season for most of the summer.
Irrigation reservoirs, like Horsetooth, generally fill up in spring with rain and snowmelt. As summer progresses, they are drawn down as farmers’ need for irrigation increases.
While Horsetooth is doing well, the Poudre River is flowing more slowly than usual for this time of year. On Friday at the mouth of the Poudre Canyon, the river was flowing 74.6 cubic feet per second. The average for this time of year is 92 cfs.
Slower flows are likely due to the dry weather and lack of rainfall during the last several months, Smith said.