Water year highlight: Terrace Reservoir spills over — @AlamosaCitizen #runoff #SanLuisValley #RioGrande

Click the link to read the article on the Alamosa Citizen website (Owen Woods):

COLORADO Division 3 Engineer Craig Cotten stood above the Terrace Reservoir dam early Tuesday morning watching the water fall into the concrete spillway below. He took his phone out and snapped some pictures, smiling the whole time. He introduced himself to a few people who watched the waterfall, too. 

Cotten said that in 2019, Terrace Reservoir, located northwest of Capulin, got just below the lip of the spillway, but didn’t quite spill over. This was cool, he said. 

The greenish water of the reservoir stretched out past the bend, up to the Alamosa River. Along the north and south shores, stands of aspen trees were submerged. Some of them are almost entirely underwater. Further upriver, most of the cottonwoods along the Alamosa River were flooded, surreally resembling a Florida swamp. 

The word around the Valley is that nobody can remember when a spillover like this last occurred. Cotten admitted that it was probably sometime in the 1980s, but he wasn’t quite sure. 

When this water year began in October 2022, Terrace was sitting with a mere 3,136 acre-feet of storage. Today, June 13, 2023, Terrace is spilling over with 15,251 acre-feet of storage. Terrace has a total storage capacity of 19,195 acre-feet. 

Looking at Colorado’s Division of Water Resources tracking of Terrace’s storage since 1989, no data point since then comes even close to this week’s water levels.

Similarly, Cotten and Valley water managers have been paying attention to Platoro Dam and Reservoir on the Conejos River. It too is nearing capacity from this spring’s snowmelt but Cotten doubted it will actually spill over. Platoro has a storage capacity of 59,570 acre-feet.

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