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The primary purpose of the Rueter-Hess Reservoir is for storing drinking water for the PWSD customers, as well as regional storage partners. However, recreational uses have been reviewed, the Master Plan is complete, and recreation began in the summer of 2017 in the form of organized events & programs! It's an exciting time blending water quality & use with compatible recreational opportunities!
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At this time, the reservoir is not open to the general public. Prior to opening to the public, significant improvements are required at the Hess Road entrance, as well as on-site recreation staff/rangers and completion of the necessary infrastructure required to accommodate the general public (i.e., roads, trails, restrooms, parking, etc.) Programs and events that fit the vision of the reservoir and the current capabilities to provide a safe experience are provided throughout the summer months.
We are still a ways out from a general public opening, as capital funding is just beginning to be budgeted for construction of basic infrastructure (e.g., staffing, restrooms, roads, parking), as well as trails, the incline and such. At this time, we are limited to a few portable restrooms, and parking in two parking lots.
Additionally, the County requires a substantial enhancement to Hess Road prior to opening to the public. The Recreation Authority Board has chosen to spend its dollars on enhancing the experience of those that participate in programs & events at the reservoir this summer including shade structures, picnic areas, widened roads, the first 2 miles of trail on the water side.
It is a little "basic", but we are making the best of it this summer with several organized recreational opportunities on the site!
The construction of Rueter-Hess Reservoir is complete for water storage purposes. The expansion from 16,200 acre feet to 75,000 acre feet was completed in March 2012. The dam rises 185 feet above the bedrock and the reservoir encompasses 1170 acres, which is about one and half times the size of Cherry Creek Reservoir. Currently, the reservoir is about 1/3 full and just over 100' deep!
The water from Rueter-Hess Reservoir feeds directly into the Parker Water & Sanitation District Water Purification Facility located just north of the reservoir and Hess Road. From there, the water is treated and sent out to District customers.
Rueter-Hess Reservoir will serve the District's ongoing water needs well into the future, and is a great solution for long-term water needs. Recreation is just a bonus!
2019: Parker Water & Sanitation District is in the 5th year of a "water quality" fish stocking program, and right now have millions of various size fish creating the base for future fish (e.g., Catfish, Bluegill, Largemouth Bass).
In the fall of 2018, the Recreation Authority introduced "recreational" fish into the reservoir for the first time (e.g. Walleye). As this is a new body of water, natural habitat, such as foliage continue to develop as land is inundated with water.
A fish population study will be conducted in June 2019 to assess the success of the various fish species in the reservoir, then stocking will continue in the fall based on the findings.
So.... YES, fishing opportunities will be in the future at Rueter-Hess!
It is an exciting summer to come to the reservoir! For 2019, we offer organized SUP/Kayak rentals and classes that are coordinated through Colorado Standup Sports. These classes utilize new boards that are stored securely onsite at the reservoir and only used at Rueter-Hess. Click: Colorado SUP for more information and to register for a session today!
Additionally.... Personal watercraft may be brought into the reservoir on any of the personal "Paddle Day" events (15 offered in 2019). To avoid mussels (i.e., "invasive species") into the water supply all watercraft require inspection prior to launching into the reservoir.
Water temperatures range from 65 – 72°F in the upper zone of the reservoir during summer months.
Currently, dogs and horses are not allowed at Rueter-Hess. However, on-leash dog runs are included in the Master Plan when trails are developed. In an effort to protect water quality, they will not be allowed in or near the water.
Horse trails are included in the Master Plan on the north side of Hess Road - due to the bacteria that horses produce, they will not be permitted on the reservoir side of the property.
As you'll see in the Master Plan, the trail system will be constructed in phases. There is not an anticipated timeframe for completion of the complete trail system circling the reservoir and on the north side of Hess Road, but the first two miles of the initial reservoir trail sections are set to begin design and construction in 2019. Additional trail and an incline on the north side of Hess Road are anticipated for 2019 as well!
Yes, there are! MORE organized classes, programs and special events are currently being held at the reservoir including: 2019 Public Paddle Days, Standup Paddle Board rentals and lessons, childrens day camps, various guided tours & information sessions, an Open Swim race, birding and photography tours.
Most Colorado reservoirs have a river or creek that passes through them, which creates a continuous flow of fresh water moving through the basin. An example of this is Cherry Creek State Park Reservoir. Rueter-Hess Reservoir is more like a "bath tub"...99% of the water is pumped into the reservoir and then it is directly piped to the Parker Water Purification Facility for distribution to the District's customers. Aurora Reservoir is similar to RHR, but Aurora has the ability to bring water in from the west slope reservoirs to help blend with the poorer water quality. Parker Water does not have other reservoirs for this option.
We know there will be some body contact with water activities (e.g., people falling off of their paddle board, canoes and kayaks) and the Water District can accommodate this. There is even a plan to host an occasional open water swim event (July 2019, nearly Sold Out), but that will only be once or twice a year and only for a few hours. Because of water quality concerns and the known constant water level change, a swim beach is not included in the Master Plan.