|(Above) Recent storms have boosted snow pack in the Colorado Rockies, including the Fryingpan River Valley upstream of Ruedi Reservoir.|
|(Above) It's a good sign when the tallest members of the West Slope crew are dwarfed by snow covering the diversion dams.|
|(Above) The crew opened Mormon Diversion Dam during blizzard conditions.|
Snow and more snow was good news for the upper Fryingpan River Basin, near Basalt, Colorado. Currently, Ruedi Reservoir is pushing 90% full.
Water Supply Update
In April, releases from Ruedi Dam to the Fryingpan River bumped up to around 110 cubic feet per second. That release rate has continued through spring run-off.
Inflows to Ruedi peaked with melting snow in early June. As more water comes into the reservoir, water levels have risen. It is anticipated that the water level will continue to slowly rise until mid-July.
Water from Ruedi Reservoir is provided to water users across Colorado's Western Slope, in part to compensate for diversions made further upstream via the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project.
In July, Reclamation will host its annual Ruedi Operations Public Meeting to explain the anticipated demand and reservoir release rates for the rest of summer and early fall.
The meeting, held for years in May, moved to August in 2010 in response to local demand. August is the busiest part of the tourism season for the town of Basalt and the Fryingpan River.
Collection System News
The rest of the Fry-Ark Project delivers water diverted by 16 high-elevation diversion dams. The small sites on creeks and streams tributary to the Fryingpan channel water to the Boustead Tunnel, which takes it underneath the Continental Divide. The 16 diversion dams have to be manually opened every spring.
By the time Reclamation's Fry-Ark West Slope crew was able to access the upper reaches of the Fryingpan Valley in April, a different snow pack had accumulated than what had existed back in early March. Snow depths ranged from three to six, or more, feet.
By mid-June, the SNOTEL sites that measure snowpack in the upper reaches of the Fryingpan River Valley had melted out.
- Weather, reservoir elevation, and other data is available via the Ruedi weather station.
- The USGS page for streamflow below Ruedi Dam provides up-to-date information for water released to the lower Fryingpan in cfs measurements.
- This graphic displays the fill and draw pattern at Ruedi Reservoir over the past five years.
Information on Ruedi Reservoir and releases to the Fryingpan River can also be obtained by joining the e-mail notification list. To join the list, please contact Kara Lamb.
Current Events and Additional Information
Last Updated: June 18, 2013