Transit losses and travel times for reservoir releases, upper Arkansas River Basin, Colorado

Colorado Water Resources Circular 20



Factors influencing reservoir releases were analyzed for the upper reach of the Arkansas River in Colorado.

The time of travel of releases from Twin Lakes Reservoir to Colorado Canal, a distance of 175 miles, ranges from 29 to 69 hours depending on the antecedent flow of the Arkansas River. Travel time of releases from Turquoise Lake is 42 hours more and travel time of releases from Clear Creek Reservoir is 12 hours less than for the Twin Lakes Reservoir to Colorado Canal reach.

At the Colorado Canal, the streamflow hydrographs resulting from upstream reservoir releases are modified by channel and bank storage, inadvertent diversions, and evapotranspiration. During an average reservoir release of about 450 cubic feet per second for about 12 days, the released water arriving at the Colorado Canal is reduced by about 7 percent due to bank storage, by about 8 percent due to inadvertent diversions, and by about 1 percent due to evaporation. All release water in channel storage arrives at the Colorado Canal headgate during the release recession soon enough to be diverted and does not cause a loss. Transpiration losses due to bank storage are assumed to be negligible. This total average transportation Loss of 16 percent can vary from about 6 to 28 percent due to the antecedent river conditions, the amount and duration of the reservoir release, and the time of year the release occurs.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype State/Local Government Series
Title Transit losses and travel times for reservoir releases, upper Arkansas River Basin, Colorado
Series title Colorado Water Resources Circular
Series number 20
Year Published 1973
Language English
Publisher Colorado Water Conservation Board
Publisher location Denver, Colorado
Contributing office(s) Colorado Water Science Center
Description ii, 39 p.
Country United States
State Colorado
Other Geospatial Arkansas River Basin