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Western Water

Dillon Reservoir

Summit County: Dillon Reservoir fills and spills

Posted on July 29, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

July 27 is the latest fill date in recent memory, but careful operations helped reduce downstream flooding risk while ensuring maximum usable supplies

After weeks of carefully juggling inflows, releases through the outlet works and diversions through the Roberts Tunnel, Denver Water officials said Dillon Reservoir filled completely July […]

Colorado: High-water warning dropped on Arkansas River

Posted on July 17, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Long runoff season winding down

Colorado’s rivers are dropping from peak flows as the last of the snowpack melts off the high peaks. River managers have lifted a high-water advisory for the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, opening some restricted areas for boating, included the Numbers and Royal Gorge.

Video: The journey of Barton Creek

Posted on July 14, 2011 by Jenney Coberly

A video trip down the creek

This is the video story of the journey of Barton Creek, starting high up in the snowfields of Peak 6 in the Ten Mile Range, and ending in the wetlands and beaver ponds at the intersection of Barton Road and Airport Road  […]

Summit County: High water closing roads, recpath

Posted on July 12, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Denver Water maintaining steady outflow from Dillon Reservoir just below flood level

High runoff and heavy rains have led to some traffic disruptions, as State Highway 9 has been cut to one lane of travel between Breckenridge and Hoosier Pass. CDOT workers are monitoring traffic and alternating travel for […]

Colorado: Flash flood watch issued for much of the state

Posted on July 12, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Heavy rains expected today, with drying trend the next few days

A flash flood watch is in effect through midnight across large parts of Colorado, as another surge of deep monsoonal moisture from the south brings a good chance of moderate heavy rains to much of the state. […]

Colorado: Forest Service reporting flood-damaged roads

Posted on July 10, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Heavy runoff, rains are hampering access to backcountry areas in Colorado

Recent heavy rains have caused already swollen streams to do considerable damage to popular roads on the Eagle/Holy Cross District of the White River National Forest. A culvert on Forest Service Road 704, which accesses the Missouri-Fancy Trailhead, […]

Summit County: The cup runneth over

Posted on July 10, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Blue River swollen with rain and runoff

Melting snow and heavy monsoon rains are combining to sustain minor nuisance flooding in parts of Summit County. Saturday afternoon, I took a leisurely stroll along some sections of the Blue River, where high water has closed a few side streets and swamped the recpath […]

Summit County: Lower Blue now at near-flood level

Posted on July 8, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

High flows to continue the next few weeks as reservoir fills

Rain-swollen streams pushed the daily infow to Dillon Reservoir all the way to 2,484 cubic feet per second Thursday, near the highest flows for the season, set June 30 at 2,550 cfs. The average peak flow is about […]

Summit County: Lower Blue River edges close to flood stage

Posted on July 8, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Denver Water raises outflow from Dillon Reservoir, cuts diversions through Roberts Tunnel, expects reservoir to fill in about 2 weeks

The Lower Blue River is flowing perilously close to its banks, as Denver Water increased the flow to 1,750 cfs Thursday. Flooding issues along the Lower Blue start to […]

Summit County: Blue River flows upped to 1,300 cfs

Posted on June 30, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Dillon Reservoir could fill in less than 2 weeks at current rate of inflow

Since reaching its lowest point June 1, the water level in Dillon Reservoir has climbed about 19 feet — averaging a little more than six inches per day. That rate increased a bit in the […]

Summit County: The future of water

Posted on June 23, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Summit County panel talks on water issues wraps up this week

A trio of water experts will tackle some of the most vexing questions about the future of our most precious resource during a June 23 panel discussion at CMC in Breckenridge (11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.) […]

Summit County: June workshops focus on water

Posted on June 8, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Expert panels to discuss watershed protection and restoration

With roaring high country streams and waterfalls as a backdrop, Our Future Summit this month will focus on a series of panels covering watershed protection and stream restoration. The first session is set for June 9 (7 p.m. to 9 p.m.) […]

Colorado: annual river tour includes Kremmling stop

Posted on June 9, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Colorado Foundation for Water Education brings lawmakers, educators, water professionals and citizens together for educational journey

More than 100 lawmakers, educators, water professionals and citizens will spend a few days learning from water leaders and touring the Colorado River Basin from June 13 through 15. This year’s river tour, […]

Colorado: Record runoff possible in Blue River Basin

Posted on June 4, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Denver Water warns of possible high flows in Lower Blue

The latest snowpack measurements and weather forecasts have prompted Denver Water to warn residents of the Lower Blue Valley, below Dillon Reservoir, to be prepared for flooding flows in the Blue River. Combined inflows into the reservoir from the Upper […]

Colorado: Free fishing – no license required June 4 & 5

Posted on June 3, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Start the summer season by with some weekend fishing

Colorado has more than 2,000 lakes, ponds, and reservoirs and 10,000 miles of streams and rivers, all full of trout, bass, walleye and catfish. And each year, the Colorado Division of Wildlife stocks these waters with more than 3 million […]

Colorado: June 1 snowpack at record levels nearly statewide

Posted on June 3, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Runoff in some northwestern river basins expected to be two to three times of average

Colorado’s latest snowpack data, compiled by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, shows the profound impact that a cool and wet May can have on water supplies, in terms of both timing and quantity. The forecasted runoff throughout […]

Summit County: More flood warnings issued

Posted on June 1, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Mid-week warmup is expected to raise river levels’ low-lying areas at risk for flooding

With Summit County already in a flood advisory zone identified by the Colorado Water Conservation Board, local officials are saying that now is the time for sand-bagging. “Effects of the runoff are already being reported […]

Colorado River: More protection needed in diversion plans

Posted on June 1, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Conservation group advocates for strict standards and an endowment fund that would ensure resources for long-term monitoring and restoration work

Conservation groups say planned new diversions from the Upper Colorado River and the Fraser River could push the river ecosystems even closer to the edge without additional safeguards. Colorado […]

Summit County: 3 boating accidents in 2 days as rivers rise

Posted on May 29, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Boaters able to self-rescue after their raft capsizes Sunday in Silverthorne

Two boaters who launched a small inflatable raft Sunday (May 29) near the factory outlets in Silverthorne went for an icy swim in the fast-moving water, but were able to reach shore on their own […]

Summit County sheriff warns of high water dangers

Posted on May 28, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
Avoid flooded areas during spring runoff
Local emergency workers watching rising water levels throughout the county, and urging residents and visitors to be especially cautious in and around Summit County waterways. “In spring, creeks and streams can be particularly dangerous as flows are often higher and faster than they […]

Water: Colorado West Slope basin roundtables to meet

Posted on May 26, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Water discussions continue in Colorado

Big picture water issues, including the  Colorado River Cooperative Agreement, water banking and the Flaming Gorge pipeline proposal, will be on the table May 26 at the Colorado Basin roundtable meeting in Grand Junction. Click here for more information on the basin roundtables. One […]

Summit County: Watching the waters

Posted on May 20, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Denver Water upping flows in Lower Blue River to 1,250 cfs; Dillon reservoir drawn down to lowest level since 2003

Big flows have started in the Lower Blue, north of Silverthorne, as Denver Water upped releases from Dillon Reservoir to about 1,000 cubic feet per second. That will increase […]

Colorado: Flood warnings for northwest part of state

Posted on May 16, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Record flows expected in Yampa River

The National Weather Service has issued a flood advisory for parts of northwestern Colorado, where the Yampa, White and upper Colorado will all see peak stream flows well above average. Depending on temperatures, flows in the Yampa River may very well approach record levels. Click here for […]

Colorado River: ‘It shouldn’t be about power and money’

Posted on May 7, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Colorado Wildlife Commission hears input on mitigation and enhancement plans for proposed new Upper Colorado River diversions

Residents call for public accountability, more money for long-term monitoring and action instead of meetings.

Anglers want insurance policy for Colorado River projects

Posted on May 5, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Mitigation plans for Windy Gap, Moffat firming projects up for May 6 wildlife commission hearing in Salida, where public comment will be heard

While water managers and elected officials on both sides of the Continental Divide are still busy patting each other on the back for reaching tentative agreement […]

Water deal a win-win, officials from Front Range and West Slope say at the state of the river meeting in Frisco

Posted on May 4, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

No more trans-mountain diversions without West Slope consent

A proposed new agreement between Denver Water and dozens of West Slope communities gives both sides some assurance as to how Colorado River water will be allocated in the coming decades, Colorado River Water Conservation District general manager Eric Kuhn said […]

Summit County: State of the River 2011

Posted on May 3, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Upper Blue through Breckenridge eyed for potential flooding

Water managers from both sides of the Continental Divide said all reservoirs will easily fill this year as a record-setting snowpack starts to melt during the next few weeks. In some places, snow levels are at record levels, said Denver Water’s […]

Summit County: Local streams on state flood-watch list

Posted on April 30, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Local officials will hold a high water preparedness meeting May 9 in Frisco

Expecting heavy runoff in the next few weeks, Denver Water has ramped up releases from Dillon Reservoir to 255 cubic feet per second as of April 29. By next week, the flows in the Lower Blue […]

Summit County to benefit from deal with Denver Water

Posted on April 30, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Agreement assures reservoir levels, provides more water for snowmaking and streamflows and money for water, sewer and environmental projects

A couple of provisions in a proposed water treaty between Denver Water and the West Slope will go a long toward sustaining key parts of the local recreation economy, including […]

Colorado wildlife commission to take input on water plans

Posted on April 29, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

May 6 Salida hearing critical to finalize wildlife agency’s comments on mitigation plans for new diversions from West Slope to Front Range

Even though Denver Water and the West Slope have agreed in principle to a sweeping deal on future Colorado River water development, the nitty gritty process of […]

Colorado: Proposed water deal could end decades of fighting

Posted on April 28, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Denver Water, West Slope find common ground

Community leaders and water managers from both sides of the Continental Divide said Thursday that a proposed new water agreement should end decades of hostility and litigation over Colorado River […]

Summit County, Denver Water tussle over Dam Road work

Posted on April 28, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

County trying to coordinate contracting for projects to minimize impacts; Denver Water chooses Front Range contractor

Despite some improvements in overall relations between Summit County and Denver Water, the county commissioners Tuesday expressed frustration with the lack of cooperation on a project that’s important locally — the enhancement of […]

Western water supplies will take big climate change hit

Posted on April 27, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

BuRec report says higher temps, changes to runoff likely under most climate change scenarios

Water supplies in the western United States could be hit hard by projected global warming impacts, including temperature increases of 5 to 7 degrees across the region, according to the Department of Interior, which this […]

Report: Colorado River Basin dams degrade national parks

Posted on April 27, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Natural flow regimens needed to restore habitat

A pending agreement between Denver Water and West Slope entities has often been described as a “global” settlement, but in reality, the deal doesn’t look very far to either side of the Continental Divide. It’s main focus is ensuring water supplies for […]

Kumbaya on the Colorado River?

Posted on April 27, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Proposed water deal addresses long-standing disputes between Front Range and West Slope

Gov. John Hickenlooper will join West Slope officials and water managers from both sides of the Continental Divide this Thursday (April 28) to announce a water deal that could — if adopted — end decades of bickering […]

Wet spring in much of intermountain West

Posted on April 21, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Big snowpack in northern Rockies, intensifying drought in Southwest

It’s the season for western water managers to keep a close eye on the snowpack and projected runoff, and the story in the early spring is the same as it was all winter long — well above average snowfall in […]

Water: Is the Upper Colorado River Basin still in a drought?

Posted on April 14, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Lake Powell only half-full as of late March

During the past few months we’ve been reporting extensively on Summit County’s snowpack, which has been above average for the entire winter. Official stats in Breckenridge show that precipitation has been above normal five months in a row, and Denver Water […]

Dillon Reservoir likely to fill in June, even if spring is dry

Posted on April 13, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Denver Water releases latest models for Blue River Basin stream flows, reservoir levels

Thanks to copious snow in late March and early April, local streams should be running high with runoff well into the spring. Dillon Reservoir is likely to fill sometime in June regardless of spring weather, said […]

Trout Unlimited eyes Arkansas River restoration

Posted on April 5, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Conservation group has worked on 10,000 miles of streams in recent years

Trout Unlimited this week awarded a $4,500  Embrace-A-Stream grant to its Collegiate Peaks chapter in the Upper Arkansas River Valley. The chapter, based in Salida and Buena Vista, proposes to conduct assessment and stakeholders meetings for the […]

Summit County: Dead forest equals more runoff

Posted on March 11, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Mid-winter flooding, high late-summer flows all signs of changing water regime

Widespread lodgepole pine mortality has increased both the abundance and timing of runoff in streams and irrigation ditches, Blue River water commissioner Scott Hummer said this week at a meeting of the Summit Forest Health Task Force. His […]

Forest health and water supplies are closely linked

Posted on March 8, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

March 10 Forest Health Task Force meeting to focus on the critical connections between forest management and water supplies

The dramatic changes in the local forest landscapes have implications far beyond visual impacts. The death of nearly all the mature lodgepole stands in the area could very well alter […]

Summit County: Making room for spring runoff

Posted on March 3, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Lower Blue River flows to increase in early March

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 […]

New report offers alternative vision for state’s water needs

Posted on March 2, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Conservation, re-use and ag conversion can meet needs through 2050.

Smart use of existing water supplies is the key to meeting Colorado’s water demands during the next few decades, according to a report released this week by Western Resource Advocates, Trout Unlimited and the Colorado Environmental Coalition. The report […]

CDOW to explore co-op water-wildlife projects

Posted on February 23, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

State wildlife agency plans to allocate $6 million for dam improvements, storage agreements that meet wildlife and water needs

The Colorado Division of Wildlife will look for ways to prioritize investments in water projects that will benefit wildlife and wildlife-related recreation while also help other entities and individuals who […]

Water: Comments wanted on river improvement plans

Posted on February 14, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Front Range water providers release mitigation and enhancement plans as part of the Moffat collection system and Windy Gap firming project review and approval process

Denver Water is proposing $5 to $7 million worth of mitigation and enhancement measures as part of its plan to increase diversions from the […]

Water bill would raid Colorado wildlife funds

Posted on February 4, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

House Bill 1150 would divert up to $50 million from hunting and fishing license funds to water development projects

So far, the State Legislature hasn’t tackled water in the current session, but one measure on the horizon has caught the attention of Colorado hunters and anglers. House Bill 1150, […]

Colorado: Mitigation plans for new water diversions due

Posted on January 28, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Technical meeting held to discuss ways to reduce environmental impacts from proposed new diversions in Grand County

Some impacts to Grand County streams from new diversions could be at least partially addressed by making channels deeper, managing stream-side vegetation to provide more shade and carefully timing reservoir releases to mimic […]

Denver Water diversion plans up for comment again

Posted on January 11, 2011 by Bob Berwyn

Moffat project would increase diversions from West Slope by about 18,000 acre feet per year; Denver Water developing comprehensive mitigation plan

Front Range and high country residents will get another chance to comment on Denver Water’s plans to increase transmountain diversions at a pair of upcoming meetings hosted by […]

Stream flows at issue in Denver Water diversion plans

Posted on December 11, 2010 by Bob Berwyn

Colorado Wildlife Commission gets update on Denver Water’s proposed Moffat firming project

Colorado Division of Wildlife biologists this week said plans by Denver Water to increase diversions from the West Slope via the Moffat Firming Project will reduce stream flows and raise temperatures in the Williams Fork, Fraser and […]

Colorado completes drought response plan

Posted on October 4, 2010 by Bob Berwyn

Climate change could make state more vulnerable to dry spells

Colorado’s recently completed drought response plan considers impacts like crop and livestock losses, insect and pest issues and even things like the cost of highway closures from blowing dust. The plan outlines factors like big snowpack deficits during the […]

Dust on snow cuts Colorado River flows by 5 percent

Posted on September 25, 2010 by Bob Berwyn

Ground-breaking study quantifies impacts of human land-use patterns in southwestern deserts

Desert dust falling on snow in the high country may be cutting Colorado River flows downstream by as much as 5 percent each year — about twice the amount of water that Las Vegas uses annually. Reducing dust […]

Teaming up for watershed protection in Colorado

Posted on August 28, 2010 by Bob Berwyn

Forest Service, Denver water announce $33 million ‘Forests to Faucet’ partnership to treat about 38,000 acres in next five years including 6,000 acres in Summit County

Denver Water and the U.S. Forest Service will join forces to treat about 38,000 acres of critical watersheds to try and prevent catastrophic […]

The mighty Colorado: A river no more?

Posted on August 13, 2010 by Bob Berwyn

Experts say increased diversions are an adventure into the unknown

A proposal to divert yet more water from Colorado River headwaters streams in Grand County could push the system to a tipping point, with an uncertain outlook for recovery, fisheries experts said this week during a tour of […]

Colorado River battle shaping up

Posted on August 12, 2010 by Bob Berwyn

‘We have a hole in the river’

For all the sugar-coated talk of negotiation and collaboration, the latest showdown over diversions from the upper Colorado River in Grand County has the potential […]

Upper Colorado on top 10 list of threatened rivers

Posted on June 2, 2010 by Bob Berwyn

Cumulative impacts from diversions have put the river on the brink of collapse

Cumulative impacts from decades of water diversions have pushed the Upper Colorado to the brink of collapse, according to American Rivers, an environmental group that this week put the Colorado on its top 10 list of […]

Videos of 2010 Summit County State of the River meeting

Posted on June 1, 2010 by Jenney Coberly

Complete video coverage of the annual Summit County State of the River meeting held on May 12, 2010 is now available.

A video transcript of each speaker can be found at the Summit County Voice vimeo channel. Introduction and remarks – Jim Pokrandt Water Year and Water Rights Administration Update – Scott Hummer Bureau of […]

What’s My River Going to Look Like This Week?

Posted on June 1, 2010 by Jenney Coberly

Colorado Climate Center holds weekly webinars about water supply conditions

Join the Colorado Climate Center on Tuesday mornings at 10 a.m. for their Weekly Climate, Water and Drought Assessment Webinars. These updates are informative and brief (under 30 minutes). You’ll find out a great deal about water supply conditions in your area.  […]

Video: Water talk from Colorado River experts

Posted on May 14, 2010 by Jenney Coberly

Local reservoirs will fill this spring and summer

Speakers also cover the economic importance of water in Colorado, and the West Slope may purchase senior water rights for the Shoshone power plant if they come up for sale. Watch the video, and click here to get a full audio recording of all the presentations.  […]

State of the River, 2010

Posted on May 13, 2010 by Bob Berwyn

Colorado River District eyes purchase of Shoshone water rights for long-term preservation

By Bob Berwyn *Click here to hear all the State of the River presentations in their entirety. A video summary of the presentations is online here.

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