Shut-off at Long Draw Reservoir cuts flows in
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — In a scene that will likely be repeated many times this summer, Fort Collins residents woke up Saturday morning to find their cherished Poudre River flowing at a mere trickle, with hardly enough water to keep fish alive in some sections.
A dry winter followed by a record early snowmelt and months of above normal temperatures have all of Colorado in drought conditions, and the Poudre River Basin wasn’t even the hardest hit, after early winter brought significant snows to the northern Front Range.
State officials said the river dried up because they shut off flows from Long Draw Reservoir as they managed competing demands for irrigation water.
“It puts a big gap in the river … that works its way down though Fort Collins,” said Mark Simpson, assistant water commissioner for the Poudre River. Simpson said he anticipates the flows will return by Saturday afternoon.
Water Commissioner George Varra said he tries to manage cutbacks and diversions to avoid impacts to the downtown stretch of the river during peak recreation periods, but that it’s very difficult, especially during low-flow years. (more…)