Denver Water increases Dillon Reservoir outflows to Blue River
Outflows from Dillon Reservoir on the Blue River will fluctuate from 100 to 500 cubic feet per second through February.
Denver Water announced last week that it will increase the reservoir’s outflows, which had been steady at about 110 cfs, by about 35 cfs an hour as it tests its newly-refurbished gates that control how much water is released into the Blue from the dam.
The water utility announced in July that starting a restoration of the 50-year-old gates back to near-original condition. During renovation, the utility relied on a temporary siphon system that made releases at 100 to 110 cfs while the outlet works were out of service.
Denver Water and contractor Gracon Construction put the refurbished gates back into place in late December, and the gates recently passed the first of two phases of testing.
Now the facilities surrounding the outlet works, including the tunnel between the gates and the release point into the Blue River, are ready for the second phase of testing which Denver Water officials will ensure the gates meet high safety standards.
The utility is developing a plan to make a series of outflow increases while keeping protection of the downstream fishery and structures in mind.
The increased outflows will also help safely prepare for the upcoming spring season, officials said, by lowering Dillon Reservoir’s elevation to create more space before runoff begins.
The temporary siphon system will remain available as backup until the gates pass the operational tests.
Denver Water notifies county and local water managers and officials of these sorts of changes ahead of time.
The utility’s $3.4 million renovation project was announced in 2012 but was postponed due to drought conditions, which made the project not feasible because of the bypass system needed to carry out the work.
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