Summit County: Old Dillon Reservoir project back on track

Enlargement project should be done by July 31

The Old Dillon Reservoir construction site. PHOTO BY BOB BERWYN.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — After a temporary hiccup, the $7 million Old Dillon Reservoir enlargement project is set to get back on track with an estimated completion date of July 31, according to county manager Gary Martinez and Dillon water department supervisor Trevor Giles.

If there’s water available in Salt Lick Gulch, officials hope to start filling the reservoir late this summer.

The project, which aims to create more local water storage by expanding the existing reservoir from 62 acre feet to 288 acre feet, was to have been completed by the end of October, 2011, but contractors working on the site got off to a bad start last summer, Martinez said.

“They didn’t have all the equipment they needed when they started,” Martinez said.

Once they got going, they were able to complete most of the work before the snow started falling, and the enlarged dam has passed all its preliminary inspections with flying colors.

But after the delayed start, the contractor put some of the crews to work on double shifts, and that resulted in some cost overruns, Martinez said.

Currently, the contract with the builder is being renegotiated, Giles said.

Under the new terms, local entities won’t be on the hook for any additional costs, according to Martinez.

The enlarged reservoir will be managed by a joint authority with representatives from Dillon, Breckenridge, Silverthorne and Summit County. The original 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.

The county will pay for about 53 percent of the project, with Silverthorne kicking in about 8 percent and Dillon paying for the rest. The enlarged reservoir will provide a significant new pool of “wet water” high in the Blue River system, helping to meet municipal water needs and create a potential source for stream flow enhancements. The reservoir could also help property owners with wells find water to augment their use of groundwater.

Based in its existing water rights, the town of Dillon, which is almost completely dependent on Straight Creek for municipal supplies, will be able to use water in the enlarged reservoir indirectly, through an exchange for Blue River Water.

A map of the Old Dillon Reservoir enlargement project from the Forest Service environmental study.



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