Bureau of Reclamation Warns Residents and Recreationalists of High River Conditions in Big Thompson Canyon

Big Thompson Canyon. Image courtesy of www.allestespark.com

The Bureau of Reclamation anticipates that Big Thompson River flows will increase to between 850 and 900 cubic feet per second beginning tonight and reach approximately 1,100 cubic feet per second by late Sunday night.

Quickly rising temperatures and deeper-than-normal June snowpack have rapidly increased the volume of snowmelt flowing into Lake Estes. These flows will pass through the Lake Estes spillway and into the Big Thompson River downstream.

“Anticipating rapid snowmelt above Estes Park coupled with weekend rain, we want people who live, work, and recreate on the river to prepare and plan accordingly,” said Jeff Rieker, Eastern Colorado Area Office Manager.

During the peak of runoff season, daily natural inflows to Lake Estes typically range between 800 and 1,350 cubic feet per second for about four to ten days. The North Fork Big Thompson River, that joins the Big Thompson River near Drake, generally contributes an additional 175 to 350 cubic feet per second.

The Colorado-Big Thompson Project (C-BT) is one of the largest and most complex natural resource developments undertaken by the Bureau of Reclamation, in partnership with the project’s local partner, Northern Water. C-BT stores, regulates and diverts water from the Colorado River west of the Continental Divide to provide supplemental irrigation water for 615,000 acres east of the Rocky Mountains. In addition, the C-BT provides a supplemental municipal and industrial water supply for more than 1 million residents in Northeastern Colorado, as well as providing recreation in the area. It also produces enough electricity to power nearly 68,000 households.

 

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