Wednesday, Nov. 10, we started running water through the Alva B. Adams Tunnel for some power generation on the upper portion of the project. As a result, Lake Estes rose a couple feet in water level elevation. It will begin a more typical pattern of water level fluctuation over the weekend.
At 10:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 11, we began increasing releases from Lake Estes through Olympus Dam to the Big Thompson River. The first release increased by 100 cfs, bringing the river below the dam to about 140 cfs. At 11:00 p.m., we increased by about 150 cfs, putting 300 cfs in the river below the dam. We increased by about 90 cfs around midnight, putting the river at about 440 cfs this morning (Friday, Nov. 12). We anticipate that releases to the Big T will range between 390-440 cfs for the next couple of weeks, possibly longer. The duration of the release through Olympus Dam, and the rate of flow, are largely dependent on freezing temperatures.
Water released to the river will be recaptured at the Dille Diversion near the mouth of the Big Thompson Canyon. From there it will run, via the Charles Hansen Feeder Canal, to Horsetooth Reservoir. On Wednesday, Horsetooth was at an elevation of about 5378. It should start rising again by Friday afternoon.
Meanwhile, flows to the southern power arm of the system will remain on hold. Annual maintenance continues at the Pole Hill Power Plant, in the Bald Mountain Pressure Tunnel, at the Flatiron Power Plant, and along portions of the Charles Hansen Feeder Canal south of the Big Thompson Canyon. As a result, both Pinewood and Flatiron reservoirs remain drawn down to dead storage. We anticipate both reservoirs will start refilling in mid-to-late-December.
For the last week, Carter Lake has maintained an elevation around 5682 feet. However, it will likely drop more before the middle of next month. It is anticipated we will begin pumping water to Carter in late December.
As always, please feel free to call or e-mail me with any related questions or concerns.
In observation of Veterans' Day yesterday, I'd like to add my recognition of the brave men and women who have served our country. Thank you!
Bureau of Reclamation
Eastern Colorado Area Office