Grand County arranges for water releases into Upper Colorado River |

Grand County arranges for water releases into Upper Colorado River

Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi News
Grand County, CO Colorado
Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi Daily News
ALL | Sky-Hi Daily News

For the third consecutive year, Grand County plans to release water from Granby Reservoir to aid river flows in the Upper Colorado River.

Expected to start on Aug. 20, pumping purchased by Grand County at the cost of $78,000 will augment river flows through Oct. 15.

For that money, the county will be able to release 3,000 acre-feet of water presently stored in Granby Reservoir – an amount equal to about seven times the capacity of Windy Gap Reservoir near Granby.

In accordance with federal guidelines, existing flows during these late-season months are maintained at a minimum of 40 cubic feet per second (cfs) in late August, and 20 cfs from early September to mid-October.

With the county’s purchased pumping of free water at times of the year when rivers are most stressed, flows on the Upper Colorado will increase to 65 cfs late August to mid-September, 50 cfs in the second half of September and 35 cfs in early October, aiding downstream users and overall river health.

Grand County Manager Lurline Underbrink Curran relayed to county commissioners at a county meeting on Aug. 17 that the surplus water the county pumps in agreement with the Northern Water Conservancy District shows that “Grand County taxpayers are willing to try and help the environment.”

This year’s arrangement will leave a balance of 240 acre-feet of Grand County water that can be carried over for release in 2011.

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