#Greeley irrigation company responds to ‘Fill the Love’ campaign to keep Lake Loveland — The Loveland Reporter-Herald

Lake Loveland

From The Loveland Reporter-Herald (Max Levy):

‘We have shareholders, and when there’s high demand, they’re entitled to use the water.’

As a citizen campaign presses elected officials to intervene in the depletion of Lake Loveland, the Greeley Loveland Irrigation Co. this week responded to criticisms and concerns about the water level in the city’s central lake.

Lake Loveland was transformed from a natural depression into a man-made reservoir around 1900. Today, GLIC operates the lake and owns the land it covers, which fills up in April and May. The company starts delivering water to clients around June, and drainage stops at the end of the irrigation season, around October.

When the lake is drained, parts of the lake bed may become exposed, generating aesthetic complaints from residents as well as clouds of airborne dust.

Greeley Loveland Irrigation Co. general manager Dan Kammerzell said Thursday that the lake was then 38% full, or about 20 feet deep at its deepest point (he said if the lake was filled enough to reach the edge of the landscaped area next to U.S. 34, it would be about 42 feet deep).

He said he believes the frustrations fueling the recent Fill the Love campaign are due to a “misunderstanding” of the fact that the lake is a water storage resource. He added that water levels have always fluctuated with the piping of water to the company’s clients in Weld County…

After a regular meeting of the company’s governing board on Wednesday, Kammerzell declined to answer additional questions about levels relative to past years but sent the newspaper a statement in which he said the lake is generally around 40% full when drainage stops in the fall.

He added in the statement that one factor causing levels to drop in recent years was a 2018 decree by the Northern Water Conservancy District limiting how Colorado-Big Thompson water may be stored…

In 2018, a rule introduced by the district ensured that project partners would only be able to store C-BT water if the water was released and used the same year, Kammerzell wrote. Greeley previously stored about 5,000 acre-feet of C-BT water in the Lake Loveland, a significant share of the lake’s 12,000-13,000 acre feet of storage capacity, but has since stopped…

Loveland Water and Power director Joe Bernosky and City Manager Steve Adams sent a memo to the City Council last week laying out the city’s analysis the problem of “fugitive windborne sand” blowing off of the lake bed,

Council members last held a closed-door meeting on Jan. 19 to talk about the water level of the lake as well as threats of lawsuits from nearby property owners because of the blowing dust. Loveland owns rights to less than 1% of the water and uses it to irrigate city parkland.

The memo states that water levels were lower in 2018-19, when Greeley and GLIC were working on the hydraulic gates that allow filling and drainage of the lake.

A 2020 analysis by Loveland Water and Power’s Water Quality Laboratory shows the dust is primarily comprised of quartz, making up about 60% of the material by weight on the north side of the lake and 56% to the south.

The lab also tested the sediment for potentially toxic chemicals such as aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead and iron, but “none were detected at concentrations of concern.” Further analysis showed that less than 5% of the lake bed dust was 10 micrometers in diameter or smaller — small enough to be breathable…

Ultimately, the memo dismisses the possibility that the city could regulate the problem on its own or add its own water to the lake to cover more of the sand.

It recommends that “the Lake Loveland Recreation Club Inc. and affected lakefront residents work with the GLIC to implement lake bed controls such as silt fences or roughening the surface through harrowing or chiseling” to stop the dust from becoming airborne.

3 thoughts on “#Greeley irrigation company responds to ‘Fill the Love’ campaign to keep Lake Loveland — The Loveland Reporter-Herald

  1. Transplants need to educate themselves about the environment they moved to. This isn’t fantasy land where we wave a magic wand or threaten lawsuits to get more water. We all live here together in a semi arid desert climate. Yes, you heard that correctly, we live in a desert climate. We are also in a drought, rain means little, as we are mostly dependent on snow in the high country watersheds around us. Look or drive west, do you see allot of white? FYI- Our lackadaisical water use infuriates most people who reside West of the Continental divide. Why? We take it from them and pull it back over in large pipes and ditches and then we try and store it as best we can. The little yet powerful “Big” Thompson River plays a vital rile for all of us. How does it look to you? We need to rethink how we allocate this most precious resource with so many re-locating here. We simply do not have near enough of it. After learning this, look into the number of water managers we have, and realize water rights laws here are as complicated as figuring out life on other planets. Also learn how many pending of law suits the state already has (hundreds) around water allocation. Just about every state around us is currently suing US for more water. After you learn this, focus your complaints on figuring out the environment you came to and how we can do better with what little we have instead of thinking how aesthetic it would be to have Lake Loveland at capacity year- around. Thats where the Fantasy Land comes in.

    • David,
      Thanks for commenting.

      Your assertion that every state around us is suing us for more water is inaccurate. Also, water use is not lackadaisical on the Front Range. Every utility has a conservation program and the Colorado Water Conservation Board has a large education effort along with technical help.

      You are right about some of the folks that move here. Much of the growth, however, is from those that are already here having families.

      John Orr

Leave a Reply