By 2050, the Colorado River Basin could need access to between 62,000 and 101,000 acre-feet of water. According to the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), to meet this requirement several projects are needed that include new dams, expanded reservoirs and rehabilitated hydroelectric facilities.
To determine how best to manage the Colorado Basin by implementing millions of dollars in rehabilitation and upgrades to civil structures and hydroelectric facilities, CWCB is using input from the Colorado Basin Round Table (BRT).
In 2005, Colorado's legislature enacted the Water for the 21st Century Act, which established an Interbasin Compact Process that provides a permanent forum for broad-based water discussions in the state. The act created the Interbasin Compact Committee and Basin Roundtables.
In addition to the Colorado River BRT, eight additional BRTs exist throughout the state based on Colorado’s eight major river basins and the Denver metropolitan area.
Courtesy Colorado Water Resources Board
In March, the CWCB submitted several Colorado BRT and sub-basin prioritized requests for dams, civil works and hydropower generating facilities to the state for its approval.
Proposed Colorado Basins and sub-basin projects
The 100-year-old Grand Valley Diversion Dam in DeBeque Canyon directs 1,334 cfs of irrigation water into the 55-mile-long Highline Canal. The Colorado BRT said both the dam and the upper portion of the canal are in need of extensive upgrading and rehabilitation.
The Ute Water Conservancy District, which provides water to the Grand Junction area, would like to spend up to US$7 million to increase the Hunter Reservoir catchment area to more than 10 times its current capacity from 100 acre-feet to 1,340 acre-feet.
Colorado BRT member and assistant General Manager of Ute Water, Steve Ryken, estimates a cost of about US$20 million for a project to build a new dam, 69 feet in height, which would flood 145 acres. The new dam would expand Monument Reservoir No. 1, on Monument Creek south of Vega Reservoir, from 573 to 5,255 acre-feet.
Additional projects being considered include:
- Expanding Eagle Park Reservoir from 3,300 acre-feet to 8,000 acre-feet; Construction of a new 3,500 to 10,000 acre-feet reservoir on lower Homestake Creek, near Whitney Creek;
- Building the Kendig Reservoir on West Divide Creek that has a 18,060 acre-feet catchment area impounded by a dam 180 feet in height at an estimated US$60 million;
- Expand a water-district reservoir near Fraser by 80 acre-feet;
- Enlarge the Old Dillon Reservoir by 500 acre-feet and modify Dillon Reservoir such that it returns warmer water back into the Blue River; and
- Repair two penstocks in the 1950s-era Southside Canal in the Collbran Water Conservancy District.
CWCB receives oversight from the Colorado Department of Natural Resources.
For a complete detailed list of CWCB proposals, log onto cwcb.state.co.us.