Colorado Potential impact of Western Slope drought on I 70 early season manmade?

Monique

bounceswoosh
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Nov 12, 2015
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I've been reading a lot about the drought and water rights, which makes me wonder if we'll have an early season this year.

Here's a primer on some of the water rights considerations. I wonder where ski resorts fit in this. Anybody know?

 

Ken_R

Living the Dream
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Feb 10, 2016
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Denver, CO
I've been reading a lot about the drought and water rights, which makes me wonder if we'll have an early season this year.

Here's a primer on some of the water rights considerations. I wonder where ski resorts fit in this. Anybody know?

It depends on each resort's infrastructure and where they take their water from and contractually how much they are allowed to take. Resorts that have their own reservoirs have a huge advantage (like Beaver Creek for example). It cost them a lot of money but definitely worth it in the long run (climate change not being linear)
 

jmeb

Stereotypical Front Range Weekend Warrior
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Unless there is massive Federal or State action to modify existing water rights -- particularly in the Colorado River basin -- I don't see it impacting. Basically all I70 ski areas except Loveland and Abasin are in that watershed.
 

skix

Out on the slopes
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Feb 19, 2018
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...
I think Abasin is in the Colorado River Basin. Might want to check into that to see if you're correct.
Yep. Snake River eventually drains all the ABasin slopes. The Snake then flows past Keystone to Lake Dillon and down from there in the Blue River to Green Mountain Reservoir at Heeney. The Blue then flows out of the Green and meets the Colorado at Kremmling.

ABasin has to settle for water that drains from Loveland Pass down to it's base whereas Keystone is also fed from a separate Snake River branch that also drains Montezuma. Here's a Denver Water link that gives a bit of info including the fact they have senior rights over the ski areas.


Denver Water has senior water rights in Summit County, but allows A-Basin to borrow 97.4 million gallons of water each ski season to make snow. The ski area returns the water in the spring when the snow melts and flows into the streams and rivers that feed Dillon Reservoir — Denver Water’s largest storage facility.

Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Frisco Adventure Park, Keystone and Winter Park also have similar agreements with the utility, which shares 1.1 billion gallons of water with the ski areas each year.

“Letting them redirect water from the streams onto the mountain is a way to get multiple uses out of every drop,” said Dave Bennett, water resource manager for Denver Water. “The ski areas get their water to make snow, and we catch it after they use it.”

Denver Water has very senior water rights in Grand and Summit counties dating back to the 1920s and 1940s before their resorts were open or made snow.

A 1985 agreement with Summit County allowed Denver Water to share water for snowmaking in the county.




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