Docks flooded as failed dam sensor causes water levels to rise near Parker

April 29, 2019

PARKER -- A failed sensor is being blamed for a rise of water levels on the Colorado River north of Headgate Dam. Upriver residents were surprised Sunday morning when several docks were all but submerged by the rising water.

Several residents posted their observations on social media. La Paz County Sheriff Bill Risen wrote a post on Facebook explaining what happened.

“There was a sensor at a dam upriver that was stuck,” Risen said. “LPCSO contacted the Bureau of Reclamation and Headgate Dam was opened to compensate for the increased flow.”

While water levels were rising above Headgate Dam, they were declining below the dam.

Lt. Alan Nelson, the sheriff’s boating safety officer, posted this on Facebook: “Flows at the Parker gauge (located near Castle Rock) went from 2,537 CFS (Cubic Feet per Second) at 7 a.m. to 4,140 CFS at 10 a.m. Flows at Water Wheel (below Headgate Dam) went from 11,357 CFS to 6,425. I was told an automatic flow switch failed at Headgate Dam, reducing water through Headgate and backing up into the strip.”

Risen said residents will likely see fluctuating water levels as Reclamation tries to return the river to its proper levels.