FREMONT COUNTY – The Arkansas River is the lifeblood of summer tourism for a large part of Southern Colorado, only this year it is getting some life support.
“This year has been a particularly challenging year. Not the best of snowpacks and an extremely hot and dry spring and summer,” said Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, Manager, Rob White. It means the water level in the river could be at its lowest in decades for this time of year. The solution is supplemental water from reservoirs.
This week water from Colorado Springs Utilities reservoir storage is going into the river to help make it through next week. The middle of August typically ends the peak season along the river. “It looked like we may not have a large enough bucket to make it to the 15th,” said Echo Canyon River Expeditions, Owner, Andy Neinas, “That’s where the cooperation and coordination among so many water owners and water providers really came to save the day for many of us.”
The rivers natural flow is supplemented every summer through agreements with the Bureau of Reclamation. This year even more water was needed. Colorado Parks and Wildlife made a deal with Pueblo Water earlier in the summer.
Colorado Springs Utilities agreed to help this week. CSU will send water from storage at Twin Lakes to storage in Pueblo Reservoir.
It is good for rafting and also fishing. The fish population can be threatened when the water gets too low and too warm.