Fish Creek Reservoir release increased as Steamboat water demand nearly triples
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Mount Werner Water District General Manager Frank Alfone confirmed Tuesday that his staff has ramped up releases from Fish Creek Reservoir on the Continental Divide to help meet demand for domestic water in Steamboat Springs.
He said his operations manager confirmed that in May, the filtration bays at Mount Werner Water were processing 1.7 million gallons of water a day in order to meet demand. That has since increased to about 4.6 million gallons a day — a reflection of lawn irrigation and increasing numbers of vacationers in town.
Mount Werner Water supplies the majority of domestic water in Steamboat. Alfone said snowpack typically allows the water district to wait until late July to begin to draw significantly on the reservoir. Most summers, the water district relies on the gradual melting of snow above 10,000 feet in the Fish Creek drainage, where small tributaries combine to boost the flow.
Until this week, only a small amount of water was being released from the 4,167-acre-foot reservoir, he said.
“You’d be surprised,” Alfone said. “Sometimes we can get two inches of rain in June, and it’s snow on Buffalo Pass.”
Water officials anticipated the need to conserve water early this spring. The four Steamboat Springs area water districts — Mount Werner Water, City of Steamboat Springs, Steamboat II Metro District and Tree Haus Metro District — announced April 12 they would institute mandatory Stage 2 water restrictions starting May 1.
Those restrictions call on lawn irrigators to limit lawn and garden watering to every other day with no watering on Wednesdays to allow the water plants to rejuvenate. Based on street addresses, households are asked to limit themselves to an even/odd schedule, with Sunday starting the week at households with addresses ending in an even number.
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