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Old 04-04-2013   #1
Blackshire's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 60
Water Right Article in Vail Daily

Water rights ‘relaxed' for Colorado River |

What does this article and what it is talking about mean for boating:

In Green Mountain Canyon?
On the Upper Colorado?
At the Glenwood wave?

Can anyone give any input? Thanks!

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Old 04-04-2013   #2
Westminster, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 524
It means the stream flow floor just got lowered for Glenwood and further down. That's really interesting - basically a way to "lease" water, which isn't actually allowed under current law but likely soon will be.
What it means for the Blue below Green Mountain or the Upper C depends on timing. If they hold more near the headwaters now, the flows will be lower in the spring, but then likely will have the same minimum flows this summer - assuming the Shoshone plant calls for it's full 1250. If they "relax" the call to 704 this summer, a whole lot of rivers are going to be a whole lot bonier than they ever have been.

I'm still fascinated that this is how water leasing is going to start...

Also, does anyone know if there are any other minimum flows on the Colorado the way the Green has an 800 cfs minimum from Flaming Gorge to protect the fish?
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Old 04-04-2013   #3
Join Date: Feb 2005
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If they "relax" the call to 704 this summer, a whole lot of rivers are going to be a whole lot bonier than they ever have been.
This isn't correct. Natural stream flows keep the water above that level in the beginning of summer, and the "call" traditionally comes in late summer when natural flows taper off. However, this call basically only comes from Green Mountain Reservoir (there are other sources of water, but Green Mountain is by far the biggest). What this means is less water in the lower blue and upper colorado (gore, pumphouse, etc) late in summer when flows normally get a bump. Other rivers won't really be affected by this - there may be less water in the Grand but there generally isn't water in the Grand in late summer any way.

The other rivers are going to be bony, but only because there is no snow, not because of the relaxed call.

The only potential good news is that it may free up more water for Bailey, but we'll have to wait and see.
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Old 04-05-2013   #4
Westminster, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: May 2006
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Right, but then include Glenwood, Westwater, Cataract... Maybe I should have said a whole lot of stretches rather than rivers. It's all on the Colorado. The Shoshone call is what keeps pretty much everything from Gore on down flowing in dry years. If this is in effect, it will be pretty dramatic for late-season boating. And this year, late-season might start in June... is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2013   #5
Westminster, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
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Funnel Falls at 900 cfs
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Old 04-05-2013   #6
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
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read the whole article

From the article "The relaxation period is between March 14 and May 20, in deference to boating season on the river and irrigation needs in the basin."

So Shoshone will be calling 1250cfs thereafter. I'd expect Gore to be heavily impacted during that period, but that Shoshone and down shouldn't feel it too much since so much of the early season water comes into the river below reservoirs. Also, it has obviously already been in place since March 14, and thus currently. So don't look for a near term dip.

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