April 14, 2023
Barefoot Lakes Water Level
The timing and amount of water available for seasonal filling of the Barefoot Lakes is determined by several factors including the availability of water, climate conditions such as snowpack totals, average temperatures, and soil moisture, and drought conditions throughout the state. The availability of water is based on the Prior Appropriation Doctrine in Colorado that allows more senior water rights access to water in the river before junior rights are given access. Each right is established by the specific year the right was filed with the State and defines whether that right is generally senior or junior. Many senior rights date back to the late 1800’s or early 1900’s and are held by landowners in Eastern Colorado. The Barefoot Lakes water right was filed in 2005 and is considered a junior right.
Parts of Colorado, especially Eastern Colorado, have experienced long-term, severe drought conditions that have depleted reservoirs on the eastern plains. For the 2023 season it is likely that the Division of Water Resources, the governing entity in charge of administering water throughout the state, will allow senior water rights to be delivered based on priority to replenish those water supplies.
Based on this information and the fact that we are entering the irrigation season, it is likely that junior water rights, such as those that supply Barefoot Lakes, will not be enough to top off the lakes this season. If there is sufficient runoff (snowpack melting off the mountains) and weather conditions remain favorable, there is a possibility that the water used to supply Barefoot Lakes may yet come into priority.
LTWD makes every effort to fill the lakes when conditions allow and when water rights are in priority. While the lakes may not fill to total available capacity in the near term, the lakes do remain usable at their current levels with variations expected in overall levels for the season depending on localized weather conditions.
If you have questions please contact St. Vrain Metro District at firstname.lastname@example.org.