Montrose, CO — A common question fielded here at the City of Montrose is where someone can go to view the flow rate on the Uncompahgre River through town. The answer is: it’s complicated ... or, at least it was until now. An updated online flow measurement tool has been created to give accurate, up-to-date water flow information for residents and visitors alike.
The updated river flow calculator can be found on our Water Sports Park webpage at CityofMontrose.org/WaterPark.
Although there are numerous flow measurement stations along the Uncompahgre River, no single station is representative of the flow within the City of Montrose. Many factors play into calculating this measurement including contributions from Ridgway Reservoir, Cow Creek, other natural drainages, and the Gunnison Tunnel/South Canal as well as major irrigation diversions into the West, M&D, and Loutsenhizer Canals. Depending on the time of year, some of these can add or subtract more than half of the river’s flow.
This new flow calculator uses real-time flow data from the river’s upstream measurement stations and diversions to calculate the estimated flow within the city.
Many of the smaller tributaries through the city, like Cedar Creek, the Montrose Arroyo, and Dry Cedar Creek, are fed by lower-level snowpack and have already experienced their spring runoff peaks. However, the Uncompahgre River and its larger tributaries are fed by higher-elevation snowpack which, as evidenced by the beautiful, snow-covered view of the San Juan Mountains, still has a ways to go.
“If you get excited about river flows like we do, the flow calculator on the Water Sports Park webpage can be a great place to keep an eye on it,” said City of Montrose Engineer Scott Murphy. “It is expected that the Uncompahgre River will peak at over 1,000 cubic feet per second within the city sometime around mid to late June. Although this flow level may cause localized erosion along the riverbanks, it is well below flood stage and is not expected to cause any major problems. We have been keeping a close eye on all waterways so far and will continue to do so through the remainder of the runoff season.”
The City of Montrose would like to remind residents to exercise caution near all waterways. Swift currents in rivers and canals can be dangerous, even for the strongest of swimmers. Any questions regarding river flows or management of the city’s water resources may be directed to City Engineer Scott Murphy at 970.901.1792.