Bracing for a water-short summer

Denver Water drains Antero Reservoir

to prevent evaporative loss

DENVER, Colo. – The last time Denver Water emptied Antero Reservoir was in 2002, a year of intense heat and three major forest fires in Colorado, including the Hayman fire that marched through 138,000 acres from west of Colorado Springs toward Denver.

recreation_map1The reservoir on the South Platte River is being emptied again, and with the same goal as before: to minimize loss of evaporation. The move, says Denver Water, will reduce evaporation losses by about 4,000 acre-feet.

That’s about 25 percent of the total storage capacity of the small reservoir. It’s enough to meet the annual needs of 10,000 customers, says Denver Water.

Described as being like a pancake, shallow and broad, Antero Reservoir is vulnerable to evaporation. It is located 140 miles from Denver, at nearly 9,000 feet in elevation, in South Park.

Water from the reservoir will be released for storage into Eleven Mile and Cheesman reservoirs, which are located downstream on the river. Both are larger and deeper.

Denver Water produces one-third of the state’s treated water supply, which is about 234,000 acre-feet per year.

Denver Water last week also announced mandatory outdoor irrigation restrictions for all of its 1.3 million customers in Denver and adjacent suburbs. Watering will be limited to two days per week, and none will be allowed in mid-day.

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About Allen Best

Allen Best is a Colorado-based journalist. He publishes a subscription-based e-zine called Mountain Town News, portions of which are published on the website of the same name, and also writes for a variety of newspapers and magazines.
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