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Alcova Draw Down Marks End Of Wet Year

Karen Snyder, K2 Radio

The Bureau of Reclamation brings to an end this month one of its busiest years on record as record high water levels moved downstream on the North Platte river.

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Bureau of Reclamation Manager, John Lawson says as the water year draws to a close they begin dropping levels at the reservoirs. Starting October 1,  Alcova will be lowered about 10 feet at the rate of about 4 inches a day. This comes at the end of a record setting water year.

“We’ve still been pushing a considerable amount of water up until just of late and we’ve now decreased the flows that you see coming through Casper by a considerable amount. In fact we’ll have halved it again by next week.”

River flows will drop to about 500 cubic feet per second down from a high of around 8000 cfs at its peak earlier this summer.

Lawson says their end-of-year goal is to get all reservoirs down in preparation for what could be  yet another wet year in 2012.

Lawson says thanks to preparations last Fall, plus early releases in the Spring,  impacts to homes and businesses along the North Platte were kept to a minimum.

“I think the wisdom of that proved out to be very well substantiated, because if we wouldn’t have done that we would have probably been dealing with about 200,000 more acre foot of water in releases this year than we had to deal with.”

Looking back to the beginning of records in 1907 this last year saw the highest amount of water released over a 12 month period. On top of that, the Pathfinder spillway, he says, was in use this summer longer than anytime in its history.



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