pic of the week

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Where are they going to put the water?

I am concerned this morning about our little water issue. You might recall that Trent wrote about this last month, but we are now at a critical point.
Here is the quick scenario. Seminoe Reservoir is 95% of capacity. As I understand, or as the rumor goes this is much more water than the BuRec wants behind Seminoe Dam. Apparently the dam is not completely structurally sound? The North Platte River is adding 20,000 cubic feet per second(CFS)to Seminoe Reservoir. BuRec is releasing 15,000cfs from Seminoe and Kortes Reservoir (which is full). Miracle Mile is running 15,000cfs into Pathfinder Reservoir. Pathfinder is over 99% of capacity this morning...it should breech the spillway soon. Fremont has been running at 2300cfs and the tube at about the same for a total of roughly 4900cfs into Alcova Reservoir. Alcova is full and releasing roughly 4900cfs with some water going over the spillway into Grey Reef. Grey Reef is releasing 4900cfs. There is still room in Semonoe if they use it. And, Alcova can store quite a bit more although it will still require a lot of water spilling over.
Now that we have the rough picture...where does the water go? When Seminoe gets all that it can and the other reservoirs are at capacity we still have all the volume that is entering Semonoe Reservoir to deal with to deal with. Maybe the runoff on the upper Platte River Drainage will slow soon? Unlikely, as there is still substantial snow pack. We should expect more water in Grey Reef at the least. Hopefully the BuRec will be able to moderate the flows downstream and damage will be limited.
I would hope that there is a plan that we aren't aware of or that we lack the education to comprehend. Maybe they can pump a fair amount of water into the Casper Canal? I would hope that we would be warned ASAP if there is danger of property damage and risk of life and limb. I generally don't participate in "chicken little" philosophy, but I am concerned. The North Platte River, Grey Reef AND the trout will be fine...I am more concerned about property owners along the North Platte River between Alcova and Guernsey Reservoir.


WyoFlyAddict said...

As soon as the Seminoe is full, which will likely be sometime in the next couple of days, the same amount of water that is flowing into Seminoe and Pathfinder (Platte + Medicine Bow + Sweetwater) which is currently 18,000 CFS will have to pass through the City of Casper. If there is flooding of the bike paths and other structures at the current flow (5,500 CFS) there is going to be some significant flooding at ~15,000 (assuming the flows drop slightly while Seminoe fills). IMHO, the BuRec has done an extremely poor job of managing the upstream reservoirs to account for the current runoff situation. It's pretty easy for them to see the high temperature forecast, plus high levels of snowpack to know that runoff is going to be extremely high. BTW, the storage in Alcova is extremely minimal in the grand scheme of things and will likely only account for a few hours of flows.

WyoFlyAddict said...

BTW, it is going to take 3.5 days to fill Seminoe at the current rate of filling. If I'm someone who lives along the river in Casper, I'd be taking precautions now.