Reclamation Managing Water Releases on Big Thompson River for Protection of the Public and Facilities in Eastern Colorado

Media Contact: Kara Lamb, 970-962-4326

For Release: September 12, 2013

LOVELAND, COLO. - The Bureau of Reclamation is releasing 3,600 cubic-feet-per-second from Olympus Dam to the Big Thompson River at the top of the Big Thompson Canyon. In addition, Reclamation is moving up to 550 cfs through facilities of the Colorado-Big Thompson project, keeping this water out of the Big Thompson River.

"Olympus Dam on the Big Thompson River and other Reclamation dams and facilities are safe and performing well," said Eastern Colorado Area Manager Michael Collins. "Though not built for flood control, Reclamation is utilizing the Colorado-Big Thompson system as best we can to manage the heavy rain inflows into Lake Estes while reducing the releases into the Big Thompson canyon."

Inflows to Lake Estes have reached 3,700 cfs and no water is being imported from the west slope through the Alva B Adams Tunnel. Water being diverted into the Colorado-Big Thompson project will go into Pinewood Reservoir and then into Horsetooth Reservoir or Carter Lake. It does not go into the Big Thompson River.

One cubic foot per second is one cubic foot of water moving by you every second. That is the equivalent of one basketball weighing seven pounds moving by you every second. Since Reclamation is releasing 3,600 cfs, that is 3,600 basketballs weighing roughly sixty pounds coming out of the dam every second.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.