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Transmountain diversion change increases flood danger in Aspen, Basalt

Jun 8, 2015

Water is diverted through tunnels from the Western Slope to the East Slope. The Twin Lakes Tunnel on Independence Pass has temporarily stopped delivering water because of the wet spring. The stop is causing water to rise on the Roaring Fork River through Aspen and Basalt.
Credit roaringfork.org

There’s less water from the Roaring Fork River being diverted to the East Slope this spring and it’s increasing flood danger. Over the weekend, law enforcement in Aspen and Basalt monitored high flows. Wetter-than-normal conditions on the East Slope temporarily stopped diversions through the Twin Lakes tunnel. They’ll start up again later this month. Bill Linn is Assistant Police Chief in Aspen.

"They just don’t have enough capacity. They don’t need a lot of water over there, so on Tuesday they turned off the valve. That’s why the rivers are higher now than they were even a week ago."

The Roaring Fork through Aspen is running more than double the typical flow. So far, no structures are threatened by flooding. Riverbanks have only overflowed at the North Star Nature Preserve east of town and other undeveloped property. A Mud and Flood task force is readying sandbags and shovels for peak flow, expected mid-month.