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Cameron Ditch, Photo by Richard Stenzel
Cameron Ditch, Photo by Richard Stenzel

2009 Calendar

This calendar is the fifth 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.

Green Mountain Reservoir
Green Mountain Reservoir is located on the Blue River approximately 12 miles southeast of Kremmling. Constructed between 1938 and 1943 by the Bureau of Reclamation, the reservoir provides compensatory storage to West Slope residents for water diverted to the East Slope via the Colorado-Big Thompson Project (C-BT Project). Green Mountain reservoir, dam, and power plant were the first C-BT Project features to be constructed. Green Mountain Power Plant was the first power unit of the C-BT Project to produce electricity. It began power production in May 1943. It is one of six power plants—the only one on the West Slope—in the Colorado-Big Thompson Project.
Taylor Park Dam
Taylor Park Dam was constructed in 1937 by the Bureau of Reclamation as part of the Uncompahgre Project. Project features, in addition to Taylor Park Dam and Reservoir, included the Gunnison Tunnel, seven diversion dams, 128 miles of main canals, 438 miles of laterals, and 216 miles of drains. The system diverts water from the Uncompahgre and Gunnison Rivers to serve over 76,000 acres of project land surrounding the town of Montrose and extending 34 miles along both sides of the Uncompahgre River to Delta, Colorado. Taylor Park Dam is located on the Taylor River approximately 20 miles northeast of Almont, Colorado. The dam creates a reservoir with a storage capacity of 106,200 acre-feet.
Grand Valley Project Diversion Dam
The Grand Valley Project Diversion Dam is on the Colorado River about 8 miles northeast of Palisade. Flow over the diversion dam is controlled by six roller gates. The roller dam design was the first of its type used in the United States. It was modeled after an experimental German design. The roller gates were originally fabricated in Germany; however the German ship carrying the gates to the United States met an untimely fate at the hands of a British warship. The German ship and the roller gates ended up on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. New roller gates were fabricated in the United States based upon the German design. When the structure was completed in 1916 the diversion dam was the largest of its type in the world. The Grand Valley Project provides irrigation water to 33,368 acres of land in the vicinity of Grand Junction.
Spinney Mountain Reservoir
Spinney Mountain Reservoir was constructed in 1981 by the City of Aurora for domestic water supply. The reservoir is near Hartsel and covers 2,498 surface acres. Spinney Mountain Dam is of earthen construction. The dam height is 95 feet and it has a length of 4,125 feet. Its capacity is 83,300 acre-feet. Normal storage is 53,873 acre-feet. The reservoir collects runoff from 772 square miles of the headwaters of the South Platte River. In addition to storing South Platte River water, it also stores water from the Arkansas River and the Colorado River Basins.
Pueblo Dam and Reservoir
Pueblo Dam and Reservoir, located on the Arkansas River in Pueblo County about 6 miles upstream and west of the City of Pueblo was constructed to store water delivered from the Fryingpan Arkansas Project in 1975. The reservoir has a total storage capacity of 357,678 acre-feet. Project water is released from Pueblo Reservoir to the Arkansas River for irrigation and municipal purposes, to the Fountain Valley Conduit for municipal purposes, to the Bessemer Ditch for irrigation, and to the Pueblo Fish Hatchery for the fishery.
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Construction of Mountain Home Reservoir was completed in 1913 by the Trinchera Irrigation District. Mountain Home Reservoir is located southeast of Blanca, Colorado on Trinchera Creek and has a capacity to store 19,500 acre-feet. The reservoir is currently owned by the Trinchera Mutual Irrigation Company, which manages the use of water for irrigation in the northern half of Costilla County, Colorado. The company is responsible for the maintenance of Mountain Home Reservoir and Smith Reservoir and the delivery of irrigation water to approximately 15,000 acres of land.
Strontia Springs Dam
Strontia Springs Dam, which is owned by Denver Water, is located 6 1/2 miles upstream of the mouth of Waterton Canyon on the South Platte River. The dam was completed in 1983 as part of the Foothills Project. The dam towers 243 feet above the South Platte streambed, forming a 1.7 mile-long lake with 98 surface acres. Water is diverted from Strontia Reservoir into a 3.4 mile-long tunnel under the mountains to the Foothills Water Treatment Plant.
Santa Maria Reservoir
The Santa Maria Ditch and Reservoir Company completed construction of Santa Maria Reservoir in 1913. Located approximately 8 miles west of Creede, Colorado below Bristol Head Peak, the reservoir has a capacity of 43,500 acre-feet. Santa Maria Reservoir stores and releases water for irrigation purposes.
The Muddy Pass Reservoir
The Muddy Pass Reservoir is located approximately 29 miles southwest of Walden, Colorado, along Highway 40 on the East side of Rabbit Ears Pass. The dam was constructed by the Division of Wildlife to store water from Big Grizzly Creek. The project is located on Forest Service Lands. The reservoir is 11 acres in size and stores 56 acre-feet of water. The Division of Wildlife has a right to store water for fishing and recreational purposes.
DeWeese Dam
DeWeese Dam is located approximately 4 miles north of Westcliffe, Colorado. The dam was constructed in 1905 to store water from Grape Creek, which is a tributary of the Arkansas River. The water stored in DeWeese Reservoir is used to irrigate lands located south of Cañon City. The dam and reservoir is owned by the DeWeese-Dye Ditch and Reservoir Company of Cañon City.
Cameron Pass Ditch
The Larimer County Ditch Company, known today as the Water Supply and Storage Company, was the first irrigation company to pursue diverting water from the West Slope. The first transmountain diversion they constructed was the Cameron Pass Ditch. The ditch transfers water from Michigan Creek, a tributary to the North Platte River, to the Cache la Poudre watershed. The ditch construction began in July 1882, and resulted in a small ditch that was 1/2 mile long. The ditch is located on the north side of Highway 14 and west of the rest area located at the top of Cameron Pass.
Summit Dam and Reservoir
Summit Dam and Reservoir are owned by the Summit Reservoir and Irrigation Company. The Summit Dam is located on Summit Ridge northwest of Mancos, Colorado. The dam was completed in 1907 and was originally filled by the Turkey Creek Ditch. In 1913 a diversion structure that was 4 miles long, called the Lost Canyon Ditch or Summit Ditch and the Railroad Siphon was completed and diverted additional water from the Lost Canyon Creek to Summit Reservoir. Summit Reservoir was enlarged to its present capacity in 1960. The reservoir delivers water for irrigation to the Main, Exum, Withers and Extension Ditches. In addition, Puett Reservoir is filled by releases from Summit Reservoir.
Willow Creek Reservoir
Willow Creek Reservoir, dam, pump plant, and supply canal were all built between 1951 and 1953, 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 Lakef function as a unit to deliver water through the Adams Tunnel to the East Slope portion of the Colorado-Big Thompson system.