1. Does the lake have a hole in it?

No. As in all lakes, evaporation occurs and water levels go down. Evaporation accelerates as the lake gets warmer. Rain, snow and water added to the lake by 4 natural springs on its northwest side offset the loss by evaporation. In wet times, the lake rises. In dry times it falls. During an average year the lake level will fall.

2. Does the lake need a liner?

No. During wet years, the lake has natural springs that seep through the soil and fills the lake. If the lake was lined, these springs would be cut off and the trapped water would become a problem.

3. If we fill the lake, will it just go dry again in a few years?

Water needs to be added during most years to replace net evaporative loss. In wet years the lake has maintained itself. The lake had been filled regularly by a pipe from the reservoir for over 100 years.

4. Why did The Town of Palmer Lake stop filling the lake with the water from the reservoir?

In 2001, the town felt that it was illegal to fill the lake with reservoir water. The Awake Palmer Lake committee is now exploring that option again because water law is not clear cut.

5. Is any of the reservoir water owned by Palmer Lake and if so, how much?

Yes, up to 147.5 acre feet each year. The town has winter storage rights which run from Nov. 15th to Mar.15th, which allows Palmer Lake to fill the lake during these periods. Palmer Lake can use 147.5 acre feet of water any time of the year.

6. What happens to the water going over the dam at the lower reservoir?

Downstream users have rights to that water as does Palmer Lake. It depends on the date of the right as to which entity has the right to use it on a specific day. The oldest rights are allowed to use their amount of water before any younger rights if they so choose. This is called the doctrine of “prior appropriation”. Please go to www.cfwe.org and order the Colorado Foundation for water education Citizens guides for further information on all aspects of water law, science and procedures.

7. How old are Palmer Lake’s water rights?

The town has 3 separate surface water rights. The oldest and most senior is the “Anchor Ditch Right” which was appropriated (authorized) 3-1-1867. It is very senior and only has been called out during extreme drought such as in 2002. The next senior is the “TOPL Water System” appropriated 2-1-1887, which gets called out more frequently than the Anchor Ditch. However, it has not been called out in 2007 (through June and perhaps longer). The Glen Park reservoir decree for storing water (see 5Q) was appropriated 11-25-1904 and is rarely called out because it is filled during winter months when demand is low. The water in the reservoir is always available for use if present from the winter fill. Please click on www.cfwe.org and order the Colorado Foundation for water education Citizen’s guides for further information on all aspects of water law, science and procedures.

8. How much water does the lake hold when it’s full?

Approximately 110 acre feet.

9. Why would we fill our lake if the aquifers are going dry?

Although a quick and easy solution, there are no plans to use ancient aquifer water to fill the lake. Awake Palmer Lake prefers a long term solution to using Palmer Lake’s plentiful surface water rights.

10. Do Palmer Lake citizens have to choose between drinking water and water in our lake?

No. Any plan to fill the lake would be done as needed. Drinking water would always have the highest priority and the town would never be forced to fill the lake. The methods that Awake Palmer Lake recommends do not use any water that has been filtered or treated in the towns water system.

11. The Lake looked pretty good in 2006 without adding water. Why should we add water?

The Tri-Lakes region has received rain and snow well above average beginning summer, 2006. We can’t depend on that happening every year.  Without rain the lake evaporates at a rate of 3 feet per year, mostly in the summers. For climatic updates, go to www.ourcommunitynews.org and read Bill Kappel’s monthly weather column.

Several years of winter drought without any subsidizing have left the lake virtually empty. It is now  time to explore long term, viable options to restore and maintain the lake to its former prominence.

Leave a Comment