Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Dillon Reservoir at 95% of Capacity

Denver Water will soon start to increase outflows from Dillon Reservoir.

With average snow and rain the next few weeks, the boating season could last for a month. During some recent dry summers, boating the Lower Blue wasn't even an option.

"Things are looking good, but I said that last year, too," said Denver Water's Marc Waage. If there's some extra spring moisture, boating in the Lower Blue could last nearly all summer, Waage added.

"We saw the inflow come up in March, which is pretty unusual," Waage explained.

As of April 1, Dillon reservoir was 95.6 percent full, only 3.5 feet below the level of the spillway, according to caretaker Dave Fernandez. That's the highest level for that date since 1984 and the fourth-highest ever, according to Waage.

Denver Water's entire storage system is at 90 percent of capacity, the highest April 1 storage figures since Dillon Reservoir was built, he said.

"We actually gained storage during the winter for the first time ever," Waage said.Heavy Front Range snows led to record winter stream flows in the South Platte. So the Roberts Tunnel, which carries water from Dillon Reservoir to the Front Range, was off all winter, Waage explained.

"Obviously, we'll easily fill the reservoir," Waage said. Right now, the aim is to balance between reducing the risk of flooding downstream from the reservoir and generating enough flows for boating and to flush sediments out of the Lower Blue.

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