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Surface Creek could see high water this spring

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Photo by Emy Lynn Roque Cisneros At the Water 102 presentation, water commissioner James Holiman cautioned that Surface Creek could see some higher flow this spring as water melts off the Mesa. Hopefully we see some cooler days to slow melt and extend the

The second presentation in the four-part series on water for "Voices on the Western Slope," "Water 102: Surface Creek Flow," saw a good turnout April 18. When asked who attended the previous session, about half the audience raised their hands.

James Holiman, lead water commissioner, presented. After explaining how the Surface Creek flow system works he shared data on snow levels, snow melt and what to expect this spring. According to his data, this winter was one of the top 13 in the last 41 years for snow; Park Reservoir measured at 41 inches of water on April 18, for example.

At the end of May Surface Creek may see some high water as a result. As temperature rises, cfs will increase. Cfs stands for cubic feet per second. One cfs is equal to 7.48 gallons of water flowing each second, like in streams and rivers.

One time Holiman said he saw levels reach as high as 800 cfs. On a 70 degree day he expects there might be 85 cfs currently. "I don't think this flow will be as bad as 2005," he said. "But we want some cooler days to slow melt and extend flow."

Essentially, the area will see the opposite of problems to last year. Instead of drought there could be some flooding.

However, he did assure that most of the reservoirs will need to be refilled before the high water comes. He cautioned citizens to not open their gates too early though because of the spikes that could occur in cfs, especially at night.

Currently water is available for those who need it. If anyone has concerns or questions about water or early water release they can visit the Colorado Division of Water Resources at 125 S. Grand Mesa Drive, Cedaredge, or 970-856-3527.

The next session, "Water 103: Introduction to Water in the Surface Creek Valley," will be on Thursday, May 9, at 6 p.m. This session will focus on ditches and water decrees, their benefits and who owns them.

A donation of $10 at the door is encouraged. The public is invited and the presentation will be at the Grand Mesa Arts and Events Center.

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