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Dwindling Horsetooth Reservoir Water Level Hurts Marina

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – Colorado is wrapping up one of the driest summers ever. August was the fourth driest on record and water levels at reservoirs across the state are down dramatically.

According to the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, Horsetooth Reservoir is at 36 percent of capacity and continuing to dwindle.

“We have about 300 boats out here,” Inlet Bay Marina owner Glen Werth said.

It’s a stark contrast of what the Inlet Bay Marina used to look like at Horsetooth Reservoir just a few months ago.

“It’s definitely been a battle for us,” Werth said.

Werth has owned the marina for 15 years. This is the first year he’s ever had to close down in the middle of summer because of a lack of water.

“We closed in July. I had people calling up saying, ‘I want to rent a boat.’ We haven’t had our rental boats in since mid-July. We’ve had to shut down,” Werth said.

The long, hot summer, in combination with a low snowpack last year, and a draw on the water from local farmers, means the water supply at the reservoir is dwindling.

“We are about a little over 20 feet lower than normal for this time of the year,” Werth said. “If we make Labor Day, everybody gets through Labor Day, everybody’s pretty okay with that. Closing six weeks earlier than that is in the middle of summer, it’s tough.”

Werth estimates the lack of water has cost him thousands in revenue for the year, but not all are complaining.

“It’s low, but it’s awesome. I mean there’s still six miles of lake and nobody’s out here anymore,” boater Ben Miller said. “Everybody is winterizing their boats and going home.”

“The coves are awesome. It’s just a totally different feel out here,” boater Jeff Stentz said.

There is currently only one boat launch ramp open. It will stay open until October.

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