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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.
As you'll see in the Master Plan, the trail system will be constructed in phases. There is no anticipated timeframe for completion of the complete trail system circling the reservoir and on the north side of Hess Road, but we anticipate the construction of the initial trail sections to begin within the next couple of years (budget permitting).
YES, On-leash dog runs are included in the Master Plan. In an effort to protect water quality, they will not be allowed 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.
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!
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!
At this time, the reservoir is not open to the general public. The Recreation Authority anticipates that it will be about 2-3 years before the funding is in place for on-site recreation staff, and to complete the necessary infrastructure required to accommodate the general public (i.e., roads, trails, restrooms, etc.)
Yes, there are! Organized classes and special events are currently being held at the reservoir including: Standup Paddle Board rentals and lessons, National Trails Day guided tours, 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 2018 - 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.
We are still a few years 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 open field or cleared dirt areas.
It is a little "primitive", but we are making the best of it this summer with limited, organized recreational opportunities on the site!
2018: Parker Water & Sanitation District is in the 4th year of a 5-year fish stocking program, and right now have millions of little minnows (2-3" long) creating the base for bigger fish. In the fall of 2018, we anticipate adding "recreational" fish to the reservoir for the first time. Previous fish stocking was focused on "water quality" varieties and creating a natural habitat as foliage was inundated with water.
In 2015, bait fish including fathead minnows and bluegill were introduced. Since then, channel catfish have also been stocked. Future predatory species will include largemouth bass and rainbow trout.
So.... YES, fishing opportunities will be in the future at Rueter-Hess!
It is an exciting summer to get recreation going at the reservoir! For 2018, we strictly have organized SUP rentals and classes available that are being coordinated through the Town of Parker's Recreation Department. These classes are utilizing brand new boards that are stored securely onsite at the reservoir and only used at Rueter-Hess. Parker Water is researching and looking for ways to deal with the avoidance of introducing certain bacteria and mussels (i.e., "invasive species") into the water supply so that personal watercraft can be brought into the reservoir in the future. Click: Colorado SUP for more information and to sign up today!
Water temperatures range from 65 – 72°F in the upper zone of the reservoir during summer months.