Reclamation > News & Multimedia > news release > Reclamation to Release Water to Big Thompson River through March
Reclamation to Release Water to Big Thompson River through March

Releases from Olympus Dam to the Big Thompson will begin refilling Horsetooth Reservoir

Media Contact: Anna Perea (970) 290-1185
For Release: Mar 1, 2024

LOVELAND, Colorado — On Tuesday, March 5, the Bureau of Reclamation expects to begin releasing Colorado-Big Thompson Project water to the Big Thompson River due to ongoing work at Pole Hill Powerplant. Releases from Olympus Dam in Estes Park will begin slowly, at a rate of about 40 cubic feet per second and potentially increase to as high as 440 cubic feet per second by mid-March. The water will be diverted north to Horsetooth Reservoir at Dille Diversion Dam, roughly one mile upstream from the mouth of the canyon.

The initial lower volume releases coupled with increased daylight and increasing seasonal temperatures will help to slowly melt ice in the river—avoiding major impact from existing snow and ice. Small, temporary ice jams occur normally in the winter, but larger jams that present a hazard to bridges, culverts or other infrastructure should be reported to Jim Struble (970-593-2074) or Bernie Lodge (970-347-7265).

With the anticipated releases, the Big Thompson Canyon will experience flows that are above average for this time of year. Anglers and people with homes and businesses near the streambanks should prepare accordingly and maintain awareness of river conditions.

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.

Media inquiries or general questions about Reclamation should be directed to Anna Perea, Public Affairs Specialist, at 970-290-1185 or If you are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability, please dial 7-1-1 to access telecommunications relay services.

# # #

The Bureau of Reclamation is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of the Interior and is the nation's largest wholesale water supplier and second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Our facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation opportunities, and environmental benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR; Facebook @bureau.of.reclamation; LinkedIn @Bureau of Reclamation; Instagram @bureau_of_reclamation; and YouTube @reclamation.

Return to top