New plan aims to keep water in Roaring Fork

Jun 5, 2018

Credit Elizabeth Stewart-Severy/Aspen Public Radio News

The City of Aspen and Pitkin County have completed a plan for how to manage the upper Roaring Fork River; the goal is to keep more water flowing.


The Roaring Fork River loses about 40 percent of its water to transmountain diversions before it ever gets to Aspen. Hunter Creek, which feeds into the Roaring Fork in town, also loses half of its water to a diversion. This means even in average water years, the Roaring Fork often runs well below what the state has identified as the minimum flow for ecological health.

The river management plan identifies ways that City of Aspen and Pitkin County can help keep more water flowing in the river. It also includes simulation tools that can help the governments predict the number of days that the river may be below the minimum flow and by how much.


Officials warn that more water in the river could mean less diverted into Aspen for fountains, parks and other domestic uses.

The Pitkin County Open Space and Trails board will hear a presentation, including predictions for this dry year, on Thursday. Elected officials for both the city and the county will review it later this month.