Dillon Reservoir fills for first time in four years | VailDaily.com

Dillon Reservoir fills for first time in four years

Bob Berwyn
Special to the Daily/Brad OdekirkDillon Dam caretaker Dave Fernandez hikes a short way up from the Glory Hole Tuesday morning, where, for the first time in four years, water is pouring over its edge.

SUMMIT COUNTY – Colorado Springs resident Karsten Szabo eyed the water Tuesday as it gently lapped the grassy shore of Dillon Reservoir’s Snake River inlet.”This is great,” she said. “I was fishing here a few weeks ago, and I had to post-hole through the mudflats to get near the water. It’s nicer than it’s been in a few years.”For the first time since 2001, Dillon Reservoir reached capacity early Monday morning and started to spill water into the Blue River. The reservoir came within 6 inches to 9 inches of capacity in 2003, according to Marc Waage, a Denver Water engineer.

Dillon Reservoir, holding about 254,000 acre-feet, is the largest of Denver Water’s all-important storage buckets. It filled despite a below-average snowpack in the Blue River watershed and below-normal river levels for much of the spring. It filled even though it started at a lower level than usual, Waage said.The reservoir is one of several around the state that serves Denver Water’s 1.2 million Front Range customers.Because of timely spring moisture, the utility diverted far less water from the reservoir to the Front Range. The utility’s customers cut water use by 20 percent this winter and are saving even more so far this summer, Waage said.

Conservation figures are compared to average water use before the drought began about six years ago.The wet spring combined with water conservation to help fill Dillon Reservoir and allow a short rafting season on the Blue north of Silverthorne, Waage said. Overall, the Denver Water system is close to reaching 100 percent capacity.Dillon Reservoir will remain within a couple of feet of full through Labor Day, Waage said. That is good news for the county’s two marinas that depend on lake levels to serve sailing, kayaking and other boaters who use marina facilities to access the water.

Green Mountain Reservoir, located on the northern edge of the county line, has filled on paper, according to Long, although some of the water is still being held in feeder rivers and creeks. That “feeder” water includes some of the water now spilling out of Dillon Reservoir, he added.Vail, Colorado

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