Colorado Parks and Wildlife to Release Water From Two Buttes Dam

Two Buttes Reservoir Almost Empty Back in May, 2013

Two Buttes Reservoir Almost Empty Back in May, 2013

LAMAR, Colo. – After a major rain event on Wednesday initiated a dramatic rise in water levels, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is releasing water from the Two Buttes Reservoir.

Many years ago, the State Engineer’s Office, now the Division of Water Resources, Office of the State Engineer, Dam Safety Branch placed a restriction on the Two Buttes Dam, which is classified as a High Hazard Dam. At that time, a 20-foot storage restriction was put in place by the State Engineer’s office due to safety concerns downstream based on the spillway adequacy to pass the required Inflow Design Flood.  This restriction provides storage space in the reservoir to help prevent the dam from overtopping and failing in an extreme flood event, which would help alleviate potential dangers to the residents living downstream of the dam, including the town of Holly.

At 2 a.m. Thursday morning, parks and wildlife staff noticed a sudden rise in inflows as the water level jumped from 19.2 feet to about 21.5 feet, an estimated rise rate of one foot per hour. Over the last two weeks, Two Buttes Creek flooded on numerous occasions, ultimately causing reservoir levels to rise to more than 24 feet. Due to the storage restriction, the agency is legally obligated to release any water above 20 feet as soon as possible.

The agency intends to maintain reservoir levels as high as possible within the restriction. The lake will not be drained. In addition, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is currently attempting to gather the funds to continue repairs to the outlet structure and rehabilitation of the dam so that Two Buttes Reservoir can be returned to the originally intended 46-foot depth.

For more information, contact the Lamar area office at 719-336-6600.
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