Show/Hide

Important Updates:

Get the latest coronavirus updates, including information on closures and work the city is doing to limit the spread of the virus. | More Info

Show/Hide

The City of Boulder welcomes your feedback. Use our Inquire Boulder customer service tool to tell us what’s on your mind.

  • Channel 8
  • My City News
  • Facebook
  • Public Saftey

Boulder Reservoir to Be Drained Starting Sept. 1 for Required Maintenance Work

Beginning Sept. 1, 2020, until March 2021, access to Boulder Reservoir will be limited while the reservoir is drained to allow Northern Water, in coordination with the City of Boulder, to perform necessary maintenance on the reservoir and its dams.

 

This work will ensure visitor safety and effective water delivery to municipal and agricultural water users. Reservoir water levels will be significantly lower than normal during this time. This is routine, required maintenance work that will take place every 5-10 years.  

 

The reservoir basin will be closed to all water-based activities, including boating, watercraft, fishing, swimming, wading and other on-water recreation once the reservoir drawdown begins Sept. 1. Passive recreation opportunities (e.g., walking, cycling and running) will still be available during this time. The main trail along on the North Shore will remain open, but access to the shoreline will be restricted. Trails in the vicinity of the north and south dams may be periodically impacted during periods of construction in those areas. A map of affected areas is available on the project website at bouldercolorado.gov/water/boulder-reservoir-maintenance# 

 

Performing the maintenance work this year when some recreation activities such as swimming and special events are already restricted due to COVID-19 will ensure that additional impacts will be avoided, and recreation can return to full service once the pandemic subsides. However, the city recognizes that this limitation on Boulder Reservoir use may be disappointing to impacted recreationists. The city is providing reservoir permit and pass holders with a partial refund or credit on their purchase, available through Aug. 23. Current permit and pass holders have been contacted directly with information on how to access this offer.  

 

Additionally, Boulder Reservoir has received approval to remain open on Friday, Aug. 7, which is designated as an unpaid city closure day to address financial challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic, and offer extended hours of operation from  7-9 p.m. on Aug. 10-16. The city is able to offer these additional hours due to cost savings as a result of the draining project’s impact in shortening the fall recreation season. 

 

The reservoir will be drained to remove sediment from the area around the reservoir outlet, which naturally builds up over time. Maintenance will also occur on dam outlet structures, and the on the land between the north and south dams known as Fisherman's Point. Construction equipment access and activity will be in the vicinity of the north dam and Fisherman's Point.  

 

Northern Water is coordinating with Colorado Parks and Wildlife and city staff to mitigate environmental impacts of the project. The reservoir will be drained outside of nesting season, limiting effects on nesting and migrating species during the most critical point in their life cycle. The reservoir will be refilled prior to spring migration and nesting seasons. While there are currently no plans to relocate the fish in the reservoir as the water level is expected to support the fish, Northern Water will monitor their environment daily. If conditions appear problematic, fish relocation may be arranged.  

 

The Boulder Reservoir is a key part of the city’s drinking water supply and provides water to other municipal and agricultural users. Water is delivered to the reservoir and its water treatment plant via the Southern Water Supply Project, completed in 2020, and the Boulder Feeder Canal. The City of Boulder owns Boulder Reservoir, but operations and maintenance related to water storage and dam safety are primarily managed by the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District (Northern Water).  

 

Additional information is available on the project webpage at https://bouldercolorado.gov/water/boulder-reservoir-maintenance#General project questions can be directed to Water Resources Manager Kim Hutton at 303-441-3115 or huttonk@bouldercolorado.gov. For questions regarding recreation impacts, contact Boulder Reservoir Facilities Supervisor Stacy Cole at 303-441-3469 or [email protected]. 

 

About City of Boulder 
Located approximately 30 miles northwest of Denver at an elevation of 5,430 feet, the City of Boulder is home to 105,673 residents and the state's largest institution of higher learning, the University of Colorado. Boulder is a world-class destination with over 300 miles of public hiking and biking facilities. Its spectacular scenery includes more than 45,000 acres of open space. Boulder is a home-rule municipality that is self-governed under the Constitution of the State of Colorado. 

 

About Northern Water 
Northern Water, a public agency created in 1937, provides water for agricultural, municipal, domestic and industrial uses to an eight-county service area in Northeastern Colorado with a population of more than 1 million. Northern Water and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation operate the Colorado-Big Thompson Project, and Northern Water operates the Windy Gap Project, both of which collect water on the West Slope and deliver it to Northeastern Colorado through a 13-mile tunnel beneath Rocky Mountain National Park. 

 

 

Published: Aug. 5, 2020 


Media Contacts: 

Jeff Stahla, Northern Water Media Relations, 970-622-2331 
Denise White, Parks and Recreation Media Relations, 303-413-7258 

Samantha Glavin, Public Works Media Relations, 720-564-2362