McPhee Reservoir

After Half a Century City of Cortez Point of Diversion Change

Cortez’s water rights date back to 1892, when the Dunham & Johnson Ditch, Giogetta Ditch, Illinois Ditch, and Sheek Ditch were decreed for irrigation on the Dolores River above the town of Dolores.

September 25, 2013--Rain helps replenish McPhee Reservoir (Cortez Journal)

Cortez’s rainfall in September of 2.74 inches has more than doubled the 30-year average, of 1.31 inches as of Monday, said National Weather Service observer Jim Andrus. “We’re still seeing the benefits of the monsoon season, and catching the edge of recent tropical storms in Mexico,” Andrus said.

August 9, 2013--Saving native fish (Cortez Journal)

A better understanding of the needs of native fish on the Lower Dolores river below McPhee dam is key to their survival, two fish biologists told local water boards recently. Jim White and David Graf of Colorado Parks and Wildlife briefed board members of the Dolores Water Conservancy District and Montezuma Valley Irrigation District on current surveys for the flannelmouth sucker, bluehead

July 17, 2013--City water diversion official after decades (Cortez Journal)

Don’t be alarmed. It appears all is calm — with no more ripples — for a year-old City of Cortez water rights request to resolve an issue with generational roots dating back to an oversight early in the 1950s.

July 2, 2013--Lower Dolores a target for extra protections (Cortez Journal)

McPhee Reservoir managers are concerned that more sections on the lower Dolores River are becoming eligible for a national Wild and Scenic River status. Irrigation managers tend to cringe when they hear Wild and Scenic River talk downstream of their neighborhood, and the Dolores Water Conservancy Board is no exception.

June 4, 2013--Dolores Project ekes out another half inch of water (Cortez Journal)

Dolores Project irrigators will receive a bit more water than previously announced, but drought conditions at McPhee Reservoir mean farmers can expect only 20 percent of their normal share this season.

May 15, 2013--City starts water limits (Cortez Journal)

Cortez officials are encouraging residents to conserve water during this summer’s predicted drought. As motivation, they plan to step up enforcement of water restrictions and levy fines to repeat offenders. From May 15 until September 15 lawn watering in Cortez will be prohibited from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days per week.

May 10, 2013--A thirst for innovation (Durango Herald)

The bright green alfalfa fields appear like a surreal oasis tucked into the rolling hills of desert shrubbery that extend south as far as the eye can see. Here, 12 miles southwest of Towaoc, the Ute Mountain Ute Farm & Ranch Enterprise cultivates 7,600 acres of farmland thanks to a ribbon of water that flows south from McPhee Reservoir 50 miles to the north.

May 2, 2013--DWCD buys into hydropower study (Cortez Journal)

The Dolores Water Conservancy District took a small step this month toward determining whether a large hydroelectric plant could be built at Plateau Creek, a tributary of McPhee Reservoir.

April 16, 2013--Irrigators, rafters face bleak summer (Cortez Journal)

Area boaters have come to terms with the fact that another dry year has dashed any chance for rafting on the lower Dolores River this summer. But revised runoff forecasts and precipitation reports are predicting a situation for farmers and local fish populations that just keeps getting worse.

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