New water supply will help meet future demand; bidding on $7 million project to start soon
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — County commissioners Tuesday gave their go-ahead for the enlargement of Old Dillon Reservoir, a $7 million project that will give local water users some new options, with storage high in the Blue River Basin.
The 62-acre-foot reservoir was built in 1936 and stored water for Dillon until the town was relocated when Dillon Reservoir was created by Denver Water. Under the proposed enlargement, formally approved by the U.S. Forest Service last week, Old Dillon Reservoir’s capacity would be upped to 286 acre feet.
According to a county fact sheet, the water will be used to meet demands from new growth in Summit County and a variety of other purposes, potentially including ball fields and other recreational open space, wetlands restoration, new community facilities and augmentation of well water usage in the Blue River Basin.
County officials have estimated the construction and preliminary soft costs like planning and design will total about $7 million, but they’re hopeful that the economic climate will result in some favorable bids that would lower the total cost.
The county will pay for about 53 percent of the project, with Silverthorne kicking in about 8 percent and Dillon paying for the rest. Dillon stands to benefit significantly from the project. The town currently depends on surface water from Straight Creek, which is vulnerable to pollution from I-70. During the 2002 drought, Straight Creek flows dropped to a point that had Dillon thinking about direct diversions from Dillon Reservoir.
The water in Old Dillon Reservoir could also be used to enhance stream flows in the Snake and Lower blue under other scenarios.
Officials outlined a few lingering issues related to the expansion project, including the potential for additional phosphorus loading in Dillon Reservoir, wetlands impacts and mitigation and impacts to a brook trout population, but said that none of those challenges are insurmountable.
The project has all required permits other than a state certification needed to fulfill U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit conditions.
Filed under: federal government, Summit County Colorado Tagged: | Dillon, Old Dillon Reservoir enlargement, Silverthorne, Summit County government, Summit County News, US Forest Service, water, water storage