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Pueblo Water addresses flows at Pueblo Dam tailwaters

April 5, 2023
The Pueblo Dam at Lake Pueblo State Park November 2019. Photo by Mike Sweeney

The Pueblo Dam tailwater fishery is an outstanding sport fishery for non-native trout species and has been for many years even though that stretch of river occasionally experiences very low flows.

Because of multiple years of drought, current hydrologic conditions are once again resulting in unusually low flows on that stretch of river. The tailwater fishery has proven resilient in the past and the current low flow conditions are not expected to have any long-term negative impacts to the fishery.

Water releases from Pueblo Dam are controlled by the Bureau of Reclamation as directed by the Colorado Division of Water Resources (DWR). There is a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Board of Water Works of Pueblo (Pueblo Water) and Colorado Springs Utilities (CS-U) that mitigates the low flows by requiring Pueblo Water and CS-U to release water from their storage accounts at Pueblo Reservoir to maintain the total release from Pueblo Dam, including the portion that is routed through the Pueblo State Fish Hatchery, at 50 cubic feet per second (cfs).

Pueblo Water and CS-U have been in close communication with DWR, Reclamation and Colorado Parks & Wildlife and stand ready to release water in compliance with the MOU. Please notethat it is not possible to precisely adjust the valve at Pueblo Dam nor is it possible to precisely measure the water flow in the river. The provisional flow data published on the internet should be viewed in that context. All parties involved are doing everything technically feasible to make sure that the total release from Pueblo Dam does not drop below 50 cfs. The current flow through the hatchery is 30 cfs so that means that the reach between the dam and the hatchery discharge may be as low as 20 cfs.

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