Apple Gate

Upper Black Lake, Photo by Richard Stenzel

2018 Calendar

 This calendar is the fourteenth 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 2018 Colorado's Historic Water Projects Calendar with you.

Colorado-Big Thompson West Slope Collection System
The photograph shows Windy Gap Reservoir in the lower right, Willow Creek Reservoir is shown in the upper left and Lake Granby is shown in the background. These three reservoirs are part of the West Slope Collection system of the Colorado-Big Thompson (C-BT) system. Water from the Fraser and Colorado Rivers is diverted at the Windy Gap Pumping plant and then pumped six miles northeast to Lake Granby. The Windy Gap Project is not a part of the original C-BT system, but was added as a new supply in the 1980’s. Lake Granby is the largest storage reservoir in the C-BT system with a capacity of 539,758 acre-feet. Water is pumped from the Farr Pumping Plant at the north end of Lake Granby to Shadow Mountain Reservoir through the Granby Pump Canal. The water delivered to Shadow Mountain Reservoir flows into Grand Lake (both not visible in picture) for subsequent delivery through the Alva B. Adams Tunnel under the continental divide to eastern slope storage and the C-BT delivery system.
Boss Lake
Boss Lake is located west of Garfield in Chaffee County, Colorado on the Lake Fork stream of the Middle Fork of the South Arkansas River. Boss Lake covers 9.35 surface acres and lies in a glacial moraine. There are three reservoirs that overlay an original natural lake. Two of these are known as Donnell Reservoirs I and 2 and the other is State Reservoir Boss Lake (SRBL), which was constructed by James P. Maxwell who was the Colorado State Engineer in 1893. The overall height of the combined structures is 32 feet and the combined amount of storage capacity of all three reservoirs is 548 acre-feet and 30 acre-feet by release of usable storage from the natural lake. During the 1950's, the State Engineer ordered that the spillway be breached and the water level of the combined reservoirs was lowered to only allow for the active storage of 257 acre-feet. The SRBL is owned by the State of Colorado; however, the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District (UAWCD) has the duty to control, maintain, and keep SRBL in good condition and assumes all liabilities related to SRBL pursuant to a 1982 agreement with the Board of County Commissioners of Chaffee County. UAWCD uses SRBL as one of its sources of water in its augmentation plan.
Cottonwood Lake
Cottonwood Lake, located 7 miles west of Buena Vista, Colorado, is an earthen dam with a concrete overflow spillway that stores flows from Cottonwood Creek. The dam was built at a natural lake and only provides a couple feet of storage depth above the original lake level. The water rights associated with Cottonwood Lake involves a 59.3 acre-feet storage decree by the USFS with a 1942 priority date. The Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District (UAWCD) special use permit allows a useable storage volume of 50 acre-feet in the lake. The UAWCD utilizes exchanges of other water sources to fill its 50 acre-feet storage account as well as replace evaporation losses associated with the USFS storage pool. Absent the UAWCD replacement supply, the USFS pool would need to be drained to the natural lake level because its water right decree would be out of priority and subject to administrative curtailment. Cottonwood Lake is one of the sources of water ultimately used in the UAWCD augmentation plan which replaces depletions associated with wells located in the District.
Willow Creek Reservoir
Willow Creek Reservoir, dam, pump plant, and supply canal located approximately 9 miles southwest of Grand Lake, were all built between 1951 and 1953. It was the last major construction phase of the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District's West Slope collection system. The pump plant at Willow Creek lifts water 175 feet to the Willow Creek Supply Canal, where it flows 1/4 mile into Lake Granby. Willow Creek Reservoir, Lake Granby, Shadow Mountain Reservoir, and Grand Lake all function as a unit to deliver water through the Adams Tunnel to the East Slope delivery system of the Colorado- Big Thompson system.
Lake Estes
Lake Estes, formed by Olympus Dam, is located just east of downtown Estes Park, Colorado. Construction on Lake Estes and Olympus Dam began in the summer of 1947, and the lake began filling in November 1948. The lake plays an important role in the Colorado-Big Thompson Project power system and the east slope water delivery system. Lake Estes acts as an afterbay for the Estes Power Plant, and it controls the flow of water into the Olympus Siphon on its way to the Pole Hill Power Plant. From there water is delivered to Pinewood and Flatiron Reservoirs. From Flatiron Reservoir, water is then either pumped up to Carter Lake or delivered to Horsetooth Reservoir by way of the Hanson Feeder Canal. In the future, it will also deliver water to Chimney Hollow Reservoir as part of the Windy Gap Firming Project.
Carter Lake
Carter Lake, located west of the City of Loveland, Colorado, is one of the two main project storage reservoirs in the East Slope distribution system for the Colorado Big Thompson Project. Completed in 1952, water is diverted and stored from the Colorado River near the town of Grand Lake and delivered under Rocky Mountain National Park through the Adams Tunnel and a system of pipes to Flatiron Reservoir where the water is pumped up into Carter Lake. Water stored in Carter Lake is used for irrigation deliveries to the Little Thompson River, St. Vrain Creek, Boulder Creek, and the South Platte River or for return to Flatiron Reservoir for use in the Big Thompson or Cache la Poudre Valleys, or for hydro-electric power generation. Municipal supplies are delivered through the Southern Water Supply Pipeline as far south as Superior and to the east to Fort Morgan. Eleven communities receive full or supplemental municipal water supplies. Carter Lake Reservoir has a total capacity of 112,230 acre-feet. Immediately to the west of Carter Lake a new reservoir, Chimney Hollow, will be constructed for the Windy Gap Firming Project. This 350 foot high asphalt core dam will store 90,000 acre-feet for additional Front Range water supplies.
Echo Canyon Reservoir
Echo Canyon Reservoir is located 4.4 miles from Pagosa Springs, in Archuleta County. Echo Canyon Reservoir lies within the hills of Pagosa Springs and diverts water from Echo Canyon Creek which is a tributary to the San Juan River. Ponderosa pine and native grasses line the shore and the reservoir is back-dropped by scenic mountains. The reservoir was built by the Division of Wildlife in 1968 for fishing use by the public. The reservoir has a storage capacity of 2,148.79 acre-feet and an average depth of 50 feet. The dam is located at the west end of the reservoir.
Chatfield Reservoir
Chatfield Reservoir and dam are located on the South Platte River south of Littleton, Colorado and were built by the United States Army Corps of Engineers in response to the flood of 1965. In addition to its primary purpose of providing flood control, it also serves as one of many water supply reservoirs for the city of Denver, Colorado. The lake drains an area of more than 3,000 square miles. The 1,500 acre lake has a conservation storage capacity of 27,000 acre-feet with a flood-control pool of over 350,000 acre-feet. The reservoir is surrounded by Chatfield State Park which is operated by Colorado Parks and Wildlife. The Chatfield Water Reallocation Project approved in 2014 between the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, Colorado Water Conservation Board and Department of the Army reallocated 20,600 acre-feet of storage from flood-control purposes to joint flood control-conservation purposes in the Chatfield Reservoir. This reallocated water will be used for municipal and industrial water supply and other purposes including agriculture, environmental restoration, and recreation and fishery habitat protection and enhancement.
Monte Vista Canal
The Monte Vista Canal has an original appropriation of May 31, 1882. The Canal diverts water from the Rio Grande River at a location approximately 6 miles northwest of the town of Monte Vista, Colorado. The canal was originally constructed by T. C. Henry and was known as the Citizen’s Canal. The irrigation ditch has a carrying capacity of 340.77 cfs. Monte Vista Canal irrigates lands located south of the Rio Grande River.
Rueter-Hess Reservoir
The Rueter–Hess Reservoir is a major water management project for the Parker Water and Sanitation District (PWSD). PWSD provides services for most of Parker and parts of Lone Tree, Castle Pines, and unincorporated Douglas County, Colorado. Originally an enterprise of the Town of Parker, PWSD is now an unaffiliated special District. The reservoir is located 3 miles southwest of downtown Parker. When initial construction was nearly complete of a 16,200 acre-feet reservoir, other water districts joined the project and funded expansion to 72,000 acre-feet (75,000 as built). The dam rises 185 feet above the bedrock and the reservoir encompasses 1,170 acres, which is about one and half times the size of Cherry Creek Reservoir. Completion of the dam and reservoir was in March 2012. Rueter–Hess Reservoir is an off-stream reservoir which requires pumping surface water from nearby Cherry Creek, return flows from PWSD and other water districts. The primary function of the reservoir is drinking water storage for the Partner Districts to minimize draws of deep groundwater or bedrock aquifer from the Denver Basin that are not renewable.
Ridgway Dam
The Dallas Creek Project was authorized by the Colorado River Basin Act of September 30, 1968. Ridgway Dam, which is part of the Dallas Creek Project, was constructed on the Uncompahgre River in 1987 to increase water supplies for irrigation, municipal, and industrial purposes, and to provide flood control. Construction started in 1978, and was completed in 1987. Ridgway Reservoir first filled in 1990. The Ridgway Dam is located about 6 miles north of the town of Ridgway, Colorado. The reservoir has a capacity of 84,410 acre-feet. No distribution facilities were constructed as part of the Dallas Creek project. Water supplies are distributed through existing facilities or facilities constructed by the Tri-County Water Conservancy District or the water users
Dillon Reservoir
Dillon Reservoir, located in Summit County between the towns of Frisco and Dillon, is the largest water storage facility owned and operated by Denver Water. The reservoir has a capacity of 257,304 acre-feet of water. Dam construction began in 1961 and was completed in 1963. The dam is earth-filled, 5,888 feet long, and rises 231 feet above the Blue River stream bed. As Dillon reservoir is on the west side of the continental divide, in 1956 construction of the Harold D. Roberts Tunnel was begun amidst one of the worst drought periods in Colorado’s history to bring water to Denver across the Divide. The tunnel was holed-through in early 1960, with construction completed in 1962. The dam diverts water from the Blue River Basin through the 23.3 mile tunnel under the Continental Divide into the South Platte River Basin.
Meadow Creek Reservoir
Michigan River Water Conservancy District (MRWCD) is the owner of Meadow Creek Reservoir which is located 20 miles southeast of Walden. The reservoir is 250 acres in size and is the second largest privately owned lake in Colorado. Access to the lake is limited to the surrounding landowners, however fishing is allowed from the face of the dam. Boating in the reservoir is prohibited. The reservoir is off-channel and stores water that is diverted by the Squibob and Stemler Ditches, from the Michigan River, Sales Creek and Meadow Creek which are all tributary to the North Platte River. The storage capacity of the reservoir is 4,750 acre-feet. Water stored in the reservoir can be used for irrigation, industrial, stock water, domestic, piscatorial and recreational purposes. The City of Fort Collins also makes use of Meadow Creek Reservoir water for transbasin diversion through the Michigan Ditch.