Apple Gate

Twin Lakes Reservoir, Photo by Richard Stenzel

2012 Calendar

 This calendar is the eighth in a series of historic project calendars that Applegate Group has distributed since 2005. Applegate Group believes that water is Colorado’s most valuable resource and it is important that we all know the history of Colorado’s water project developments. The importance of obtaining a water right in Colorado for beneficial purposes has been recognized since the late 1800’s. Applegate Group is pleased to share the 2012 Colorado's Historic Water Projects Calendar with you. 

Neeland B. Siebring Reservoir
Central Colorado Water Conservancy District was created in 1965 to develop, manage and protect water resources in northeast Colorado. The District provides water augmentation and decree administration for over 1,100 irrigation wells in the South Platte Basin. The District includes two well Subdistricts; the Groundwater Management Subdistrict created in 1973, and the Well Augmentation Subdistrict created in 2004. The District and two Subdistricts own an extensive portfolio of water rights, including ditch, river and reservoir shares. The Neeland B. Siebring Reservoir located in Greeley is one of their large lined gravel pit reservoirs, named after Neeland B. Siebringg, shown left, a board member from 1979 to 1991. Robert Walker, a board member from 1979 to 2003, convinced other board members that water storage projects including gravel pit storage were the solution to meeting the needs for storage of augmentation supplies.
Alva B. Adams Tunnel
The Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District (NCWCD) was created in 1937 and provides water for agricultural, municipal, domestic and industrial uses in northeastern Colorado. NCWCD was the first conservancy district formed in Colorado and was established as the agency to contract with the United States to build the Colorado-Big Thompson Project. The Project stores water from the Colorado River headwaters in a series of reservoirs on Colorado’s west slope. Water is transported, via the 13-mile Alva B. Adams Tunnel, from Grand Lake, Colorado, under the Continental Divide to the east portal located near Estes Park. Water is then delivered to the District’s eight-county service area on the east slope through the C-BT Project. The Adams Tunnel carried the first C-BT Project water to the east slope on June 23, 1947 as shown in the photo. William Daven (W. D.) Farr, also shown, was present that day and was a NCWCD board member for 40 years. He was also instrumental in development of additional water supplies for Northern Colorado throughout his tenure on the board.
Twin Lakes Reservoir
Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District (UAWCD) was founded in 1979. Its mission is to acquire and preserve for present and future use all water rights available in the Upper Arkansas Valley, for use within the Valley, whether municipal, agricultural, industrial or domestic, and to seek every possible means to increase the water supply available within the District. A major portion of water used by the UAWCD comes from the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project water that UAWCD stores in Twin Lakes, Pueblo, and Turquoise Reservoirs. The water is used for augmentation of depletions due to wells in the District. Twin Lakes Reservoir was enlarged as part of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation from 1978-1980. Water from the Project is delivered to Twin Lakes Reservoir through the Mt. Elbert Power Plant, which is shown at left in the photo taken during the plant’s construction. The Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District holds the water rights for all of the Project facilities except Ruedi Reservoir.
Sugarloaf Dam and Turquoise Lake
The Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District was created under Colorado State Statutes on April 29, 1958, by the District Court of Pueblo, Colorado, for the purpose of developing and administering the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project. The District extends along the Arkansas River from Buena Vista to Lamar, and along Fountain Creek from Colorado Springs to Pueblo, Colorado. In addition to administering the Project repayment, the District makes supplemental water from the Project available for irrigation use and for municipal and domestic water suppliers. On August 16, 1962 Congress authorized the construction of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project. President John F. Kennedy, shown at left, signed Public Law 87-590, which authorized the construction, operation and multipurpose project. Sugarloaf Dam, shown in the photo to the left, was constructed as part of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Project from 1965-1968. Project water is delivered through the Charles Boustead Tunnel into Turquoise Lake. The reservoir stores water from the Homestake Project, the Busk-Ivanhoe System and the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project.
Platoro Reservoir
The Conejos Water Conservancy District (CWCD) was created in 1949. The Platoro Reservoir dam was completed in 1951 and regulates the water supply for 81,000 acres of irrigated land within the district and is also used for flood control. Platoro Dam is on the Conejos River about one mile upstream of the Town of Platoro, Colorado. The Army Corps of Engineers has exclusive authority over the project for flood control purposes and is responsible for directing the CWCD in the operation of the dam for flood control purposes, pursuant to Section 7 of the Flood Act of 1944. Releases made in anticipation of flood conditions are coordinated with CWCD and the Colorado Division of Water Resources to avoid interference with irrigation operations and to meet Rio Grande Compact delivery obligations. The photo at left shows another view of the reservoir taken by the Bureau of Reclamation.
Morrow Point Reservoir
The Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District (UGRWCD) is authorized by the Water Conservancy Act to enter into contracts with the United States for use of water within the boundaries of the District. The District entered into a long term water service contract with the Bureau of Reclamation for 500 acre-feet of water stored in the Aspinall Unit, which includes Blue Mesa, Morrow Point and Crystal Reservoirs. The water being leased by the District is used as replacement water to the Gunnison River to permit out-of-priority depletions by junior water rights which would otherwise be curtailed by a call on the Gunnison River by downstream senior water rights. Morrow Point Dam is located in the upper Black Canyon of the Gunnison between Blue Mesa and Crystal Dams. Morrow Point Dam and Reservoir are part of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Wayne N. Aspinall Unit, which retains the waters of the Colorado River and its tributaries for agricultural and municipal use, and serves as compact protection for the Upper Colorado River Basin. The dam’s primary purpose is hydroelectric power generation. Wayne Aspinall, shown at left, was from western Colorado and was known as “The Chairman”. He led the Interior and Insular Affairs Committee during a period that defined future water and land policy in the United States. Also shown at the left is a photo taken during the very early construction of the dam in the Black Canyon.
Meridian Lake Reservoir
The Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District (UGRWCD) was created in 1959 to work along with the federal government in creating a series of water storage projects throughout Gunnison County. The Upper Gunnison Storage Project, as it came to be known, was never entirely feasible or cost effective. The idea was finally abandoned altogether in 2008. Today the District’s mission is to protect water quality and quantity while maximizing the beneficial use of water in the Upper Gunnison River Basin. In August of 2005, the UGRWCD purchased Meridian Lake Reservoir which is located near Crested Butte, Colorado. Originally, water stored in the reservoir was used for irrigation. The District sought to use the reservoir to provide replacement water to augment out-of-priority depletions for more than 200 existing wells. John McClow, pictured at right, was instrumental in both the acquisition of the reservoir and securing a plan for augmentation for the District. The District obtained a decree in April 2005 changing the use of the water stored under the original decrees, granting a new conditional storage right, and approving a plan for augmentation.
Green Mountain Reservoir
In 1937 the Colorado River Water Conservation District was formed by passage of legislation approved by the Colorado General Assembly. The District’s mission was to: lead in the protection, conservation, use and development of the water resources of the Colorado River Basin for the welfare of the District, and to safeguard for Colorado all waters of the Colorado River to which the state is entitled. Congressman Edward Taylor (D) (shown at left), was chairman of the House Appropriations Committee at the time and threatened to withhold funding for the Colorado-Big Thompson (C-BT) Project until a satisfactory compromise could be reached between the east slope and the west slope entities. Green Mountain Reservoir was the first part of the C-BT Project to be built and serves as mitigation to the west slope for operations of the C-BT Project and as a water supply for west slope uses. The reservoir is located on the Blue River approximately twelve miles southeast of Kremmling. The picture at left shows water going down the spillway several years after the completion of Green Mountain Dam in 1943 by the Bureau of Reclamation.
Ruedi Reservoir
The West Divide Water Conservancy District (WDWCD) was organized in 1964 for the purposes of conserving and developing land and water resources within its boundaries. WDWCD provides water right augmentation supplies within its service area for all beneficial uses. The District’s primary source of augmentation water is from the Ruedi Reservoir. The Reservoir was the “basin of origin protection” portion of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project. The dam stores water from the Fryingpan River about 15 miles east of Basalt, Colorado. It was designed and is operated so that existing and prospective uses of water on the western slope are protected. The Colorado River Water Conservation District(River District) holds the decree for storage at Ruedi Reservoir. Even though the River District holds the water rights, the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District has a portion of the storage in Ruedi Reservoir available for replacement purposes. The photo at left was taken during the construction of the Ruedi Dam.
Elkhead Reservoir
The Colorado River Water Conservation District was created in 1937 by the Colorado General Assembly to provide for the conservation use and development of the water resources of the Colorado River and its principal tributaries in Colorado. The Elkhead Dam and Reservoir, located nine miles northeast of Craig, Colorado, originally was constructed by the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) and the Yampa River Participants. In 1990, the City of Craig entered into a transfer agreement with the DOW and acquired the dam and reservoir. The project maintenance and operation is shared between the City and the River District, and the recreation facilities are managed by State Parks. In 2006, the enlargement of the Elkhead Reservoir was completed and 5,000 acre-feet of the enlargement is used to provide storage for endangered fish flow management. The other 6,750 acre-feet of the enlargement is allocated for future water needs in the Yampa River Basin. The reservoir also continues to provide cooling water for the Craig Coal Fired Power Plant and has a recreational pool. The photo at left was taken at the dedication ceremony for the enlargement of the dam and reservoir.
Yamcolo Reservoir
The Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District was formed in 1966 to provide legal authority to plan and construct water conservation projects in the Yampa Valley. Yamcolo Reservoir is one of the major water conservation projects constructed by the District. The Yamcolo Reservoir, completed in 1980, provides water supply to irrigated agriculture and cattle ranching in the upper end of the valley. The dam and reservoir, located in Routt National Forest twelve miles southwest of Yampa, Colorado, also provides water for power generation and domestic use. John Fetcher, shown at left, was one of the founders of the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District. The power plant in Stagecoach Reservoir, another District project, was named after him.
Lake Nighthorse
The Southwestern Water Conservation District was created in 1941 by the Colorado State Legislature. The District includes the San Juan and Dolores River Basins. The water rights to fill Lake Nighthorse are owned by the District. In fulfillment of the water rights agreements between the Colorado Utes and the United States Bureau of Reclamation, the Animas La-Plata Project was completed and diverts water from the Animas River. Lake Nighthorse was named in honor of former Colorado Senator and Native American Ben Nighthorse Campbell. Water from Lake Nighthorse is for use by the Ute Indians and a portion of it is also intended for irrigation and municipal usage throughout the area. The Bureau of Reclamation began construction on Ridges Basin Dam, located six miles southwest of Durango, Colorado, in the summer of 2002. On November 9, 2007, the Animas-La Plata Project’s Ridges Basin Dam was topped out. The photo at left shows the last load of fill being placed on the dam and the cheering crowd of onlookers.
McPhee Reservoir
The Dolores Water Conservancy District (DWCD) was formed in 1961. The DWCD was successful in obtaining Congressional authorization for the Dolores Project (McPhee Reservoir) in1968. Primarily because of the influence of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation began construction on McPhee Reservoir in 1980, with completion in 1986. McPhee Reservoir is located in Montezuma County west of the Town of Dolores. It is the second largest reservoir in Colorado and impounds water from the Dolores River. Water that is stored is used for irrigation, municipal and industrial uses, recreation, fish and wildlife, and hydroelectric power. The water provided for irrigation purposes is used in Montezuma and Dolores counties and in the Ute Mountain Indian Reservation. The photo at left shows the Dolores Project dedication ceremony.