From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
The Arkansas River is rolling back into place as the runoff season winds down.
Snowpack piled up in late April and temperatures stayed cool in May, piling up a decent snowpack. Hot weather during most of June contributed to higher than average flows for the entire month. But that came to an end this week, as river levels at Parkdale and Avondale again hit the median mark.
Flows at Parkdale were 1,760 cubic feet per second and falling Tuesday, slightly below average. At Avondale, flows dropped to 2,000 cfs, just about normal. That’s about half of what they were two weeks ago.
Those numbers are still good for the rafting industry upstream and for farmers downstream.
The Arkansas River Outfitters Association calls the flows “ideal” on its website, saying the flows provide a combination of whitewater and technical rafting. The Royal Gorge is still rated high in intensity.
Downstream, the priority call date is 1890 or 1893, which provides water to most of the larger canals. Some canals are also releasing water which had been stored in Lake Pueblo to boost flows.
The Fryingpan-Arkansas Project, which provides supplemental water for farms and cities, has brought over about 51,000 acre-feet so far from the Western Slope. That’s about three-quarters of the total that is expected to eventually be brought into the Arkansas River basin.
Flows in the Boustead Tunnel, which brings water into Turquoise Lake near Leadville, have dropped, but are expected to bump up again on Friday, according to the Bureau of Reclamation. The amount of water that can be brought through the tunnel is tied to river levels in the Roaring Fork River basin.