The Colorado Water Trust, Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District and the Colorado Water Conservation Board have forged a short-term deal to keep water flowing in the dwindling Yampa River.
The temporary loan by the Colorado Water Conservation Board will not likely boost flows enough to support commercial tubing and other recreational uses that were banned last week when flows dipped below a crucial threshold, but it will be enough to prevent the Yampa from running dry and will hopefully relieve stress on river habitat and ecology.
The lease of 4,000 acre feet of storage water owned by the Upper Yampa water district in Stagecoach Reservoir is part of a new short-term water leasing program called Request For Water 2012. The district had the extra 4,000 acre feet available because a contract was not renewed this year. The release into the Yampa River could equal about 26 cubic-feet-per-second for 75 days but the groups plan to make strategic releases to maximize the benefits of the water in the Yampa River.