Water levels flow high this holiday weekend | VailDaily.com

Water levels flow high this holiday weekend

Robert Allen
Summit County Correspondent

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colorado ” Gushing water this weekend could prove dangerous for folks recreating along the lower Blue River.

“If you’re fly fishing and crossing the river, just keep in mind that ” if you cross over and stay on one side for a while ” that there could be an increase in flow,” said Kara Lamb, spokeswoman for the Bureau of Reclamation.

With Dillon Reservoir full and Green Mountain Reservoir approaching capacity, nearly all water flowing down from the still-snowy peaks is being passed through the lakes in what is nearly an “open river.”

Green Mountain’s outflow increased to 1,100 cubic feet per second Wednesday ” up from 200 cfs a week earlier, Lamb said.

“We’re responding directly to what we see coming in,” she said, adding that outflow changes are made in 50-to-100-cfs increments.

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The reservoir normally peaks in late May or early June, but temperature fluctuations combined with high snowpack have extended the spring runoff.

“Remember that Blue River basin had some of the highest snowpack in the state,” Lamb said.

The Dillon Reservoir filled to capacity on June 27, and water has been coming over the spillway, said Bob Steger, the manager of the Denver Water raw-water supply.

Inflow to Dillon Reservoir appears to be on a slow decline; outflow could increase slightly but not much, he said, adding that this is normal for early July.

On Wednesday the outflow was 881 cfs.

“The runoff is definitely above average this year, so that’s good,” he said.

More water than normal has been brought through the Roberts Tunnel to help supplement a dry spring season on the Front Range, he said.

Spilling it will continue at least a few more weeks, depending on demand for water from the Front Range and Summit County precipitation, Steger said.

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