Apple Gate

Shoshone Diversion, Photo by Richard Stenzel

2007 Calendar

2007 Applegate CalendarThis calendar is the third 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, in cooperation with the Colorado Foundation for Water Education, is pleased to share the 2009 Colorado’s Historic Water Projects Calendar with you.

Morrow Point Dam
Located 12 miles below Blue Mesa Dam is the Morrow Point Dam. Morrow Point Dam was completed in 1967 at a height of 468 feet, and is the first double-curvature, thin-arch concrete dam in the U.S. While the primary purpose of Blue Mesa Dam is to store water, the primary function of Morrow Point Dam is to produce hydroelectricity, with about twice the power capacity of Blue Mesa Dam. Water released from the Morrow Point Reservoir is used to provide hydroelectricity and is also utilized as part of the Colorado River Storage Project which provides for the development of the Upper Colorado River Basin. The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument begins below Morrow Point Dam.
John Martin Reservoir
Construction of the John Martin Dam and Reservoir began in 1940, but work was suspended in the spring of 1943 due to World War II. Construction resumed in the spring of 1946 and it was completed in 1948. Originally named the Caddoa Dam and Reservoir, the name was changed by an act of Congress in 1940 to honor John A. Martin, a Congressman from Colorado, who was successful in getting Congress to pass legislation for its construction. John Martin Dam is operated by the Corps of Engineers to store and release the waters of the Arkansas River in and from John Martin Reservoir for its authorized purposes. The conservation pool is operated for the benefit of water users in Colorado and Kansas, as provided in the Arkansas River Compact which was authorized between Kansas and Colorado on December 14, 1948.
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.
The Springs Resort
Every year, thousands of people from all around the world visit Pagosa Springs and use the hot springs for its mineral benefits. The Springs Resort shown here is one of two spas that make use of the water from the same underground aquifer that feeds the Pagosa Hot Springs. Since December of 1982, the Town of Pagosa Springs has also owned and operated a geothermal system. The Town of Pagosa Springs provides geothermal heating during the fall, winter, and spring to customers in the town. It is one of only eight geothermal systems in operation in the country, and the first city-owned and operated system. Geothermal water rights have been obtained to put the water to beneficial use.The Springs Resort
Lake Granby
Lake Granby is the largest storage reservoir in the Colorado-Big Thompson (C-BT) system and the second largest in the State. Lake Granby is located on the Colorado River approximately 4 1/2 miles northeast of the Town of Granby. The first water storage at Lake Granby began on September 14, 1949. The Granby Pumping Plant (later re-named the Farr Pumping Plant) was completed the same year. Construction of the dam and reservoir had to be completed before water could be delivered through the Alva B. Adams Tunnel. 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 is then released to Grand Lake for subsequent delivery through the Alva B. Adams Tunnel to eastern slope storage and the C-BT delivery system. Water from this project provides approximately 25% of the water supply of Northeastern Colorado.
Moffat Tunnel
The Moffat Tunnel is a railroad/water tunnel that cuts through the Continental Divide. It was named after Colorado railroad pioneer David Moffat. The West Portal of the tunnel is near the Winter Park Resort. A pioneer tunnel was bored parallel with the main railroad tunnel to facilitate the construction of the tunnel. The pioneer tunnel was officially completed on February 18, 1926, the final blast of dynamite was set off by President Coolidge upon pressing a key in Washington, D.C. The railroad tunnel was completed on July 7, 1927, and formally began operations in February of 1928. The pioneer tunnel eventually became the water tunnel. The tunnel is under lease to the City of Denver, which operates it as a trans-mountain diversion project transporting water to the eastern slope. The apex of the water tunnel is approximately 150 feet higher in the middle of the tunnel than at the western inlet to the tunnel. Water must therefore be delivered under pressure to the apex of the tunnel where the water then flows by gravity to the eastern portal of the tunnel that is shown in the photograph above.
Glen Canyon Dam
Glen Canyon Dam is on the Colorado River in far north-central Arizona near the Arizona-Utah state line. Completed in 1963, it is the fourth highest dam in the country with a structural height of 710 feet. Lake Powell, the reservoir impounded by the dam, has a total storage capacity of 27,000,000 acre-feet and extends 186 miles up the Colorado River, making it the second largest reservoir in the country. It took seventeen years for the lake to reach its full pool level of 3,700 feet (1128m) above sea level. Lake Powell provides the water storage needed to permit the states of the Upper Colorado River Basin to use their apportioned water and still meet their flow obligations at Lees Ferry, Arizona, under the terms of the 1922 Compact of the Colorado River.
Milton Seaman Reservoir
In 1945, the City of Greeley completed construction of the 5,000 acre foot Milton Seaman Reservoir on the North Fork of the Poudre River, upstream of Greeley’s Bellvue Water Treatment Plant located west of Fort Collins. This reservoir is used in conjunction with five other mountain reservoirs in the upper Poudre River Basin that Greeley purchased in 1947. The reservoir system allows Greeley to capture spring runoff and release it in later summer months when Greeley’s demand exceeds the yield of its two senior direct flow rights. The relatively junior nature of the reservoirs allows filling only when reservoirs with more senior water rights have completely filled. For the Milton Seaman Reservoir to provide water to Greeley in drought years, water must either be carried over from prior wet years or filled with Greeley’s more senior (older) water rights through exchange. This reservoir is currently being considered for enlargement to provide future water supplies for Greeley.
Wurtz Ditch
In 1929, Warren E. Wurtz began constructing a small ditch that tapped two tributaries of the Eagle River. The ditch delivered water to a small tributary of the Tennessee Fork of the Arkansas River. This transmountain ditch diverts water from the western slope to the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains near the Tennessee and Fremont passes north of Leadville. The Warren E. Wurtz Ditch was decreed with an appropriation date of June 8, 1929. By 1930 Wurtz obtained grants of easement from the United States Forest Service for an extension of the ditch into the Holy Cross and Cochetopa National Forests. The Wurtz Extension Ditch was decreed with an appropriation date of October 26, 1953. The Pueblo Board of Water Works now owns the diversion facilities, water rights, and the yields associated with each water right.
City of Golden RICD
Between 1998 and 2000, the City of Golden, the Town of Breckenridge, and the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District (Vail) all applied for water rights to support new whitewater parks. The City of Golden was among the first to argue that kayaking is a beneficial use. All three entities successfully obtained water court decrees for peak flows of up to 1,000 cubic feet per second which were upheld by the Supreme Court. In 2001 the State Legislature passed a new law specifying that cities, counties, and water districts could obtain water rights for “‘Recreational in-channel diversions” (RICD) for rafting and kayaking. By statute, the amount of water allowed is the minimum necessary for a “reasonable recreational experience.” Colorado became the first Western state to explicitly designate water rights for paddle parks.
Shoshone Dam and Power Plant
The construction of the Shoshone Dam and Power Plant began in 1904, and the hydro power plant started operating in 1909. The Shoshone Dam shown here diverts water through a tunnel to the Shoshone power plant, which is located two miles downstream on the Colorado River adjacent to Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon. The Shoshone Power Plant depends upon river flows rather than stored water from a reservoir for its operations. The plant has two units capable of producing up to 15 Mega Watts of electricity. The water right for the Shoshone Power Plant has historically not been met during the winter months unless Xcel Power Company places a river call to curtail upstream diversions by junior storage water rights. This large non-consumptive diversion (1,250 cubic feet per second) is the controlling water right upstream of Glenwood Canyon and is key in the administration of water on the Colorado River.
Lake Catamount
Lake Catamount, located south of Steamboat Springs, was first proposed as part of a resort in 1968 to attract the 1976 Winter Olympics to Colorado. The Olympic committee identified two favored undeveloped sites—Beaver Creek and Catamount. The committee eventually chose Beaver Creek, but Colorado voters defeated the idea of hosting the Olympics in Colorado. The Master Plan for Lake Catamount described a 3,200 acre development surrounding a 500 acre lake behind a 60 foot high, 400 foot long dam. In July of 1976, construction of the dam began. The dam was completed and the lake filled with water in the summer of 1978. The development was planned to be a “sister city” to Steamboat Springs. It was envisioned to have a population twice the size of Steamboat Springs, and to eventually be Colorado’s 8th largest ski area.
Montgomery Reservoir
On the south side of the Hoosier Pass at the historic site of the Town of Montgomery, is located Montgomery Reservoir. The Town of Montgomery was founded in August 1861, two years after gold was discovered in the area. By 1862, the Town had 150 cabins, five sawmills, three hotels and the largest dance hall in the region. By the late 1860s, gold had played out and the residents had moved south to Buckskin Joe. In the 1950s, the City of Colorado Springs began construction of Montgomery Reservoir and the remains of the Town were flooded. Today, Montgomery Reservoir stores water diverted from the Blue River Basin for ultimate use by Colorado Springs.