The snow melt is coming down the Arkansas River big time, and it’s a balancing game for the Colorado Division of Water Resources, both at the Pueblo Reservoir and here in La Junta.
“We are keeping La Junta below 2,000 cubic feet per second,” said Jeanette Myers of the local office of the water resources division. “The National Weather Service in issuing the flood warning did not take into account how much water we are taking off.”
Lonnie Spady, manager at the local office, confirmed war was running below 1400 cfs at La Junta.
John Van Oort at the Pueblo Reservoir had a busy morning on Wednesday. They were beginning to store water in the northern reservoirs as well. Twin Lake was done by Friday.
“Turquoise started filling on Wednesday. Clear Creek, the Pueblo Division of Water Works Reservoir started filling at 9 a.m. Wednesday,” said Van Oort. “Meredith will be full early Friday.
“The Corps of Engineers may get involved,” said Van Oort. “We are getting close to being into the flood pool at Pueblo. At that point, the Corps gets involved.”
The reservoirs are filling up, but Fort Lyon Canal dug out sand this past winter and is now capable of taking off more water.
“A widespread rain would be trouble,” said Myers, “but the localized rains on Monday and Tuesday night were not a problem."
“Holbrook will be full by Thursday,” said Myers. “Pueblo Reservoir, Dye, and Henry are full. Fort Lyon Storage Canal is sending water to Adobe and Horse Creek. We still have a lot of room in John Martin and Queens Reservoir. Fort Lyon is sending water to Queens, for Great Plains Water Rights.”
So does it look like a good year for agriculture? That depends. There has been a lot of hot and cold weather, alternating widely.
Eric Hanagan of Hanagan Farms says, “We had a slow start because of the cold weather, but the snow melt is good and the reservoirs are filling and the resources are being recharged. We should have a good year.”