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Bureau of Reclamation Continues Big Thompson River Water Management Activities to Protect Public and Facilities in Eastern Colorado

USBR press release

LOVELAND, Colo. - The Bureau of Reclamation is continuing to manage localized heavy rain inflow to Lake Estes in Estes Park, Colo. Releases from Olympus Dam are at 764 cubic-feet-per-second into the Big Thompson River, which flows through the Big Thompson Canyon. At the peak of the storm event before midnight, Thursday, September 12, Olympus Dam was releasing 5,280 cfs.
"We continue to closely monitor rain inflows into Lake Estes and make adjustments to the releases as needed," said Area Manager Michael Collins. "Olympus Dam on Lake Estes, all four dams at Horsetooth Reservoir near Fort Collins, and all three dams at Carter Lake near Loveland are safe and continue to perform well."

While the dams are safe, where access is available, Reclamation is currently assessing other infrastructure including canals, siphons and powerplants.

Early Thursday morning as the rain and flood event began, Reclamation shut off imports from the West Slope to the East Slope of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project system. Since then, the agency has been running the East Slope half of the system on local rain run-off water. Reclamation continues to maximize the C-BT system as conditions allow in order to manage local rain inflow, sending some water from Lake Estes to other reservoirs like Horsetooth and Carter. Rainwater sent to Horsetooth and Carter does not flow down the Big Thompson Canyon.

"Reclamation is working closely with Larimer County and will continue to do so throughout the recovery," added Collins.

One cubic foot per second is one cubic foot of water moving by you every second. That is the equivalent of one basketball weighing about 60 pounds moving by you every second.

For more information, visit and follow @usbr on Twitter.
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