Lower Blue River flows to increase in early March
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Believe it or not, Colorado water managers are already preparing for spring runoff, which should be at least average this year, and could be well above average is a few more juicy snowstorms roll through the area.
Noting that a relatively large snowpack above Green Mountain Reservoir should lead to above-average runoff, the Bureau of Reclamation has started drawing down Green Mountain Reservoir a little more quickly than planned to make room for that runoff.
At the same time, Denver Water has upped releases from Dillon Reservoir heading down the Blue into Green Mountain Reservoir. With the Roberts Tunnel shut down for maintenance until April, the annual spring balancing act between capturing as much runoff as possible and preventing flooding could be even more delicate than usual.
That means flows below Green Mountain Reservoir will be ramping up starting March 3, from 200 cubic feet per second to about 275 cfs by March 5. The flows will remain at that level until further notice, according to the Bureau of Reclamation.
To facilitate this drawdown and accommodate the additional Dillon Reservoir release, the Green Mountain Reservoir release will be increased by 75 cfs. This increase will be accomplished in three steps of 25 cfs each; one tomorrow morning, one Friday morning, and another on Saturday morning. These increases should result in a flow rate of approximately 275 cfs at the Blue River gage below the dam by Saturday morning.