Granby " Summer water outlook for Upper Colorado River is good |

Granby " Summer water outlook for Upper Colorado River is good

By Tonya Bina

Sky-Hi Daily News

Snowpack spring 2008 is above average in Middle Park, according to a report from the Colorado River District Water Resources Specialist Mike Eytel.

Etyl and others gave water-prediction updates at the Grand County State of the Rivers Meeting in Granby.

In the wake of a multi-year regional draught, the often-relayed message “more is needed” tends to loom large at such Western Slope river gatherings. Nevertheless, those who attended Tuesday’s meeting received good news.

At least this year is a good year for river flows, they were told in a series of charts and graphs. So good, it aligns itself with other stand-out wet years such as 1997 and 1984.

The Colorado River watershed as a whole is at 129 percent of average, with liquid water content peaking at 21 inches around April 19, according to data collected from eight Snowtel stations above Denver Water’s Upper Colorado diversion facilities. Last year, the basin was 70-89 percent of average.

Denver Water’s William’s Fork Reservoir is currently 85 percent full, according to updates from Water Resources Engineer Bob Steger of Denver Water. The reservoir releases water to the Western Slope when water is diverted to Denver from elsewhere. Williams Fork inflow from May to July is forecasted to be at average at around 85,000 acre-feet to well-above average at 120,000 acre feet.

The District’s Senior Water Resources Engineer Don Meyer said the earliest spill at Wolford Dam is expected anywhere from May 14 to May 21. The district owns and operates Wolford Mountain Reservoir. The district has installed new boat ramps for public use at the reservoir, Meyers relayed.

On the downside, the district is dealing with the invasive tamarisk weed on the Wolford shore and the unwelcome northern pike, a predatory fish that feeds on trout and kokanee salmon, introduced to its waters.

Well-above-average snowpack means 109 percent of average inflow in the Colorado River to Lake Granby, which is expected to reach a maximum of 12 feet below full this year, reported Bureau of Reclamation Hydraulic Engineer Ron Thomasson.

But on the east side of the mountains, conditions are expected to be dry with the absence of average March and April rain showers. In a Windy Gap report from Northern’s Deputy Manager of the Engineering Division Jeff Drager, 4,500 acre-feet has been pumped to date, with an expected 32,000 acre feet to be pumped through Adams Tunnel this year to the East Slope.

” Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail

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