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Horsetooth and Carter update
Kara Lamb Public Information Officer Bureau of Reclamation Eastern Colorado Area Office (970) 962-4326
Hi all,

Most of you have likely seen media reports about the dropping water elevation level at Horsetooth Reservoir. Almost all of the boat ramps are out of the water. Other recreation at the reservoir is still available. To learn more regarding recreation, please contact Larimer County Department of Natural Resources. Larimer County manages recreation at Horsetooth, Carter, Pinewood and Flatiron reservoirs.

So, what happened? The hot, dry weather and drought conditions are taking their toll. Horsetooth started the season high--within six feet of full--mainly because of the great snowpack Colorado enjoyed last year. But in 2012, snowpack that feeds the Colorado-Big Thompson Project was minimal. As summer advanced, drought conditions heated up and agricultural, municipal, and industrial demands called for their water from both Horsetooth and Carter. The high demands out, and minimal flows in, have kept Horsetooth's water elevation dropping at a rate of about a foot a day.

Meanwhile, the pump is on to Carter. We anticipate the pump to Carter will stay on through Labor Day weekend. Because demands are high, the pump cannot keep more water in the reservoir than is being pulled out. However, one piece of good news is that the three boat ramps at Carter are still in the water. They are expected to remain in the water through Labor Day.

The other piece of good news is that the reservoirs have done their job. They stored the bountiful water last year and have been meting it out all summer to folks who would likely be water-short, otherwise.

I hope that helps answers some questions. Please let me know if you would like additional information. I'll be out in the field tomorrow, but can return calls or e-mail on Thursday, August 23.


Kara Lamb
Public Information Officer
Bureau of Reclamation
Eastern Colorado Area Office
(970) 962-4326