How low will the rivers go? |

How low will the rivers go?

Daily News staff report

A historically low snowpack combined with an earlier-than-normal runoff could make this summer a difficult one for water management in Summit County – a place where life is sustained by the Blue River, its tributaries and reservoir levels at Dillon and Green Mountain.

The National Integrated Drought Information System has declared a severe drought in Summit County and the Colorado River Basin. As of Wednesday, snowpack levels in the basin stood at 33 percent of average, tracking below the last memorable drought year of 2002.

The public can learn more about the drought, snowpack and critical reservoir operations at the annual Summit County State of the River meeting set for 6:30-8:30 p.m. on May 8, at the Summit County Community and Senior Center in Frisco. The event is sponsored by the Colorado River District and the Blue River Watershed Group.

Presenting on the river and snowpack conditions will be Summit County water commissioner Troy Wineland. Bob Steger of Denver Water and Ron Thomasson of the Bureau of Reclamation will discuss the operations of Dillon and Green Mountain reservoirs, respectively.

The meeting will also update the public on the Colorado River Cooperative Agreement, which Summit County is scheduled to sign on May 15 in conjunction with Grand County and Denver Water. Summit County manager Gary Martinez will offer details.

It’s also a celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Colorado River District, which was formed in 1937 to protect Western Colorado water against diversions across the mountains to the Front Range. Author George Sibley will talk about how the Summit County-Denver Water relationship has evolved. Sibley is writing the book: “Water Wranglers: The 75 year History of the Colorado River District.”

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For more information, contact Jim Pokrandt, Colorado River District at or (970) 945-8522 x 236.

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