In early 2019, we began lowering the water level at Crystal Creek Reservoir on the north slope of Pikes Peak. The draw-down of water is expected to complete in mid-July.
Commonly referred to as Crystal Reservoir, it's part of the second mountain system developed for Colorado Springs water supply and was built in 1935. To ensure safety and make upgrades to meet modern-day standards of the dam, the complete dam surface, including the foundation structures, must be exposed.
As the draining process nears completion (July 10-15), neighboring communities and residents along Crystal and Fountain Creeks may notice temporary changes to creek flows.
Crystal and Fountain Creek’s flows will accelerate during this time as the last of water is released at a controlled rate. As the last of Crystal Reservoir’s water is released, there may be discoloration in the water due to mud and turbidity, and a discernable odor from the decayed organic material at the bottom of the reservoir.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) is engaged to protect the natural environment, including aquatic life.They directed an emergency fish salvage starting May 1, when the North Slope Recreation Area opened for the season, meaning anglers could catch and take as many fish as desired. CPW will remove as many remaining fish as possible during the final days of draw-down (July 10-15). Yet, some fish will likely be drained with the water.
While the length of the project is unknown until assessments are made to a dry dam surface, the expectation is that construction work will occur through 2020 and the reservoir will be refilled in 2021.
Draining Crystal Reservoir does not negatively affect Colorado Springs water supply, as the system allows for movement to other storage reservoirs.
As the project progresses, updated information will be available on this page.