February 2018
Northern Water keeping close watch on snowpack, river flow forecasts
Are you curious about how this year's below-average snowpack will translate into water deliveries throughout Northeastern Colorado? Northern Water maintains a streamflow forecast outlook on its website, northernwater.org. The site also provides links to federal agencies that monitor snowpack depths and moisture content at sites throughout Colorado, including the major river basins. Click here to learn more.

Northern Water has updated streamflow forecasts on its website.
Click through to access the data.
Crews from Northern Water work to maintain hydroelectric plant equipment

Workers from Northern Water have taken apart some of the equipment at the Robert V. Trout Hydroelectric Plant at the outlet of Carter Lake as part of the organization's annual maintenance program for the facility.

On Feb. 8, members of the Northern Water board of directors were told that 2017 was a strong year for electricity production at the plant. Energy is captured from the outlet at Carter Lake as water is delivered into the St. Vrain Supply Canal. That electricity is marketed through the Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association to customers throughout the utility's service area on the Front Range.

The power plant, one of two hydroelectric generation plants owned by Northern Water, has been in operation since 2012 and is authorized through a Lease of Power Privilege agreement with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. In addition to Northern's two hydroelectric plants, Reclamation operates six additional Colorado-Big Thompson generation stations that supply renewable energy throughout the American West. 
Save April 10 for Spring Water Users Meeting
Learn more about the upcoming water season as well as receive updates on the projects Northern Water is pursuing during the 2018 Spring Water Users Meeting to be held at The Ranch in Loveland. At the meeting, staff will preview the Colorado-Big Thompson quota and the outlook for water supplies in 2018. 

If you would like to be notified about future water user meetings and other announcements, click here.  
What we're reading: Publications help give insight on water issues
Local authors and organizations have produced several new and revised publications about water issues and their history across Colorado and the American West.

Among those is Water Education Colorado, which has created updated versions of its popular publications such as "Citizen's Guide to Colorado's Transbasin Diversions." 

The magazine-style publication offers insight on the history of the state's transbasin diversions. It also provides project examples from throughout Colorado in which water is being moved from one river basin to another. A separate section from authors Patty Limerick, George Sibley and Dan Tyler offers historical context about the leaders who built the projects and the lessons that have been carried down to today.

"Citizen's Guide to Colorado's Transbasin Diversions" is one of eight titles in the organization's "Citizen's Guide" collection. Water Education Colorado also produces the periodical "Headwaters" that explores current topics in Colorado water.

  • Find more of the Water Education Colorado's "Citizen's Guides" here
Want to learn more? Get a Northern Water speaker for your group
Do you have questions about the progress of Northern Water's new endeavors, the Northern Integrated Supply Project and the Windy Gap Firming Project? Do you want to know more about the history of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project that helped spur the development of the northern Front Range? Northern Water offers the opportunity for groups to hear from speakers on a variety of topics. 
Quonset huts were part of the housing at Shadow Mountain Camp.
An arrow marks the location of a snow-buried car.

From the archives: Prisoner-of-war buildings help to house workers
In July 1955, $37.50 would cover a month's rent for a duplex at the Shadow Mountain Camp in Grand County. The catch: that isolated home might have been part of a former prisoner of war camp brought in from 370 miles away.

The camp went out for bid in 1939 and was built to house workers building the Colorado-Big Thompson Project's West Slope features, including the western sections of the Continental Divide Tunnel, Shadow Mountain Dam, Granby Dam and the Granby Pump Plant. When construction was completed, the camp housed operation and maintenance personnel.

Reclamation managed Shadow Mountain Camp and regularly reviewed its conditions and monitored rental evaluations to ensure competitiveness in the market. In managers' comparisons with "comparable private service" housing rentals, there was a line item deduction of 10 percent for rent because of the camp's "isolation factor." 

The camp consisted of pre-fab metal-sided houses, small Quonset huts, duplexes, cottages, a garage and office building. The buildings ranged from two- to five-room residences, and from the outset, many were considered temporary.  A 1947 letter from the regional director of Reclamation to Secretary Manager J.M. Dille of Northern Water noted that much of the housing in the camp was made up of structures "of a temporary character, finished with salvaged material from the Indianola (Neb.) Prisoner of War Camp." 

Originally laid out with a "warm-air gravity heating system," as well as a fireplace, the camp homes were rewired and installed with electric heat in 1961.  As it became more expensive to keep up with the maintenance, Reclamation transferred Shadow Mountain Camp to the National Park Service in 1971. 

Today, you can spot some of the former camp buildings southeast of U.S. Highway 34 near Shadow Mountain Reservoir.

-- Alyssa Alpe, Records Data Analyst.  
Upcoming dates
  • Feb. 22-23: Family Farm Alliance annual conference, Reno. 
  • March 1: Northern Water & Subdistrict Planning and Action Session, 9 a.m.
  • March 8: Northern Water & Subdistrict Board Meeting, 9 a.m.
  • March 31: Poudre Pour, noon-4 p.m., 200 Mathews St., Fort Collins
  • For Northern Water & Subdistrict board meeting agendas visit our website