Apple Gate

Muddy Pass Reservoir, Photo by Richard Stenzel
Muddy Pass Reservoir, Photo by Richard Stenzel

2010 Calendar

2010 Applegate Calendar CoverThis calendar is the sixth 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 2010 Colorado’s Historic Water Projects Calendar with you.

December
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 Lake function as a unit to deliver water through the Adams Tunnel to the East Slope portion of the Colorado-Big Thompson system.
January
Riverside Reservoir
Riverside Reservoir is an off-channel storage facility located on the north side of the South Platte River. Riverside Reservoir is situated due north of the Town of Masters, Colorado. The reservoir was completed around 1907 and is used for irrigation, augmentation and recreation. A single 4.5 mile earthen embankment with concrete facing impounds the reservoir along the south and southeast sides of the reservoir. Water is released from Riverside Reservoir to the Riverside Canal for delivery to land within the District. The unlined outlet canal is approximately 90 miles long with a capacity of 370 cfs.
February
Sanchez Reservoir
Sanchez Reservoir, with a decreed capacity of 103,155 acre-feet, is located along Ventero Creek, a tributary to Culebra Creek. Even though the decreed capacity is 103,155 acre-feet, Sanchez Reservoir normally has much less water actually stored. Sanchez Reservoir is owned and operated by the Sanchez Ditch and Reservoir Company. The State Engineer, Charles Comstock, approved the construction plans in February, 1910. The reservoir is located approximately 8 miles south of the Town of San Luis, Colorado. Storage in Sanchez Reservoir can occur by way of diversions directly from Culebra Creek or from Quates, Jarosa, Torcido, Vallejos, and San Francisco Creeks. Water from Vallejos and San Francisco Creeks can be diverted into the Culebra-Sanchez Canal for delivery to the reservoir. The reservoir serves two major canals: the Culebra-Cerritos, and the Culebra-Eastdale.
March
Platoro Dam
Platoro Dam is on the Conejos River about 1 mile upstream of the town of Platoro, Colorado. The dam was completed in 1951 and regulates the water supply for 81,000 acres of land irrigated by the Conejos Water Conservancy District (CWCD). Platoro Reservoir is used for flood control and for re-regulating the flows of the Conejos River for irrigation in the San Luis Valley Project of the Bureau of Reclamation. The flows are crucial to the Rio Grande Compact with Texas and New Mexico. The reservoir is used by the CWCD as well as a large number of hunters, fishermen and recreational enthusiasts. The Corps 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 (CDWR) to avoid interference with irrigation operations to meet Rio Grande Compact delivery obligations.
April
Lake Isabelle
Lake Isabelle is located 6 miles west of Ward, Colorado in the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. Lake Isabelle obtains its water from Isabelle Glacier. Fred Fair, a Boulder City Engineer who discovered the glacier and lake in the early 1900’s, named them both after his wife. Even though the lake is a natural lake, Fred Fair saw its potential to serve as an irrigation source of the Left Hand Irrigation District, which irrigates lands southwest of Longmont, Colorado. During the first part of the summer the hiking trail to the lake and glacier is very popular; however, the lake is usually drained in late August. Water stored in Lake Isabelle is tributary to South St. Vrain Creek.
May
Black Lake No.1
Black Lake No.1, located 10 miles east of Vail, is located adjacent to I-70 on the west side of Vail Pass. The Lake is part of the water supply system developed by the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District. Black Lake No.1 serves the towns of Vail, Avon, and unincorporated communities of Edwards and Wolcott, which include the Vail, Beaver Creek, and Arrowhead ski areas. The dam and reservoir were constructed in 1993 and enlarged in 2008. It stores water from Black Gore Creek, which is a tributary to Gore Creek. The reservoir has a storage capacity of 425 acre-feet and is decreed for fish propagation, wildlife habitat, recreation, and all municipal uses, including augmentation.
June
Steamboat Lake
Steamboat Lake, located 28 miles northwest of Steamboat Springs, Colorado below historic Hahn’s Peak, was completed in 1968. The lake is filled with water from Mill Creek, Larsen Creek, Floyd Creek, Dutch Creek and Willow Creek. At 8,100 feet, surrounded by mountains and views of the Continental Divide, Steamboat Lake has a surface area of 1,053 acres. Steamboat Lake is part of the Colorado State Park system. John Fetcher’s passion for preserving Northwest Colorado water for the betterment of the region led him to spearhead the creation of Steamboat Lake on his own ranch. Today, the reservoir is primarily for recreational use.
July
Windy Gap Reservoir
Windy Gap Reservoir is located 2 miles west of Granby, Colorado. It is part of the Windy Gap Project. The project was first envisioned as the “Six Cities Project” by Fort Collins, Loveland, Longmont, Greeley, Estes Park and Boulder in the 1960’s which was intended to provide future water supplies for those Front Range cities as an alternate to their using C-BT project water. The initial phase was completed and dedicated in 1985. Four 12,000-horsepower pumps at the Windy Gap forebay reservoir lift water from the Colorado River to Granby Reservoir through a 6-mile long 9-foot diameter pipeline. The water is carried eventually to the Front Range through the Adams Tunnel and delivered through Colorado-Big Thompson project facilities. Much credit for Windy Gap’s success goes to W.D. Farr who was an active proponent of the project and served many years as the President of the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy Municipal Subdistrict, which manages and operates the reservoir. Mr. Farr was a board member of NCWCD for 40 years, then served another 12 years as Director Emeritus from 1995 until his death in 2007.
August
Animas-La Plata Project
The original Animas-La Plata (ALP) Project was authorized by Congress in September 30, 1968. Although scheduled for construction in the early 1980’s, discussions were initiated to achieve a negotiated settlement of water right claims of the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribes in southwest Colorado. Those negotiations were led by Sam Maynes of Durango, Colorado who was instrumental in ultimately obtaining the settlement that led to Public Law 106-554, the Colorado Ute Settlement Act Amendments of 2000. It provided for the construction of a scaled down project: Ridges Basin Dam and Reservoir and Durango Pumping Plant. The Bureau of Reclamation began construction on Ridges Basin Dam, located 6 miles southwest of Durango, Colorado in the summer of 2002. Beginning in 2009 water was first pumped to Lake Nighthorse, which is formed behind the Ridges Basin Dam. It is estimated that it will take 18 months to fill the 120,000 acre-foot reservoir.
September
Lake San Cristobal
Lake San Cristobal, located near Lake City, Colorado is the second largest natural lake in Colorado. Lake San Cristobal was formed some 700+ years ago when the first Slumgullion Earth Flow came crashing down from above and blocked the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River. The Earth Flow is still moving, but it isn’t affecting the lake any more. A new outlet structure is being constructed which will allow the storage of an additional 960 acre-feet of water for use as augmentation water and establishment of a basin wide augmentation plan. The Town of Lake City, the County of Hinsdale and the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservation District will form an enterprise for purposes of managing the water and financing planning and construction of the outlet structure. The stored water can then be released in appropriate increments from the lake into the river to satisfy senior water rights so that junior rights will not be called out. The management plan for release of water can provide for releases that will benefit fish and animal habitat, in addition to satisfying senior rights.
October
Stagecoach Dam & Reservoir
Stagecoach Dam & Reservoir began construction in 1988. The water stored in the reservoir is decreed for irrigation, municipal and industrial, recreation and hydropower uses. The Stagecoach Dam and Reservoir is located in the Yampa Valley approximately 15 miles south of Steamboat Springs. Stagecoach State Park is centered around the 780-acre reservoir with a full-service marina. The Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District owns the dam. John Fetcher was one of the founders of the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District. John was an electrical engineer so he added a hydroelectric plant which produces renewable energy. As a rancher, John grasped the need for water storage and spearheaded the construction of several reservoirs in the Yampa River Valley.
November
A.M. Puett Reservoir
A.M. Puett Reservoir is located 8 miles northwest of Mancos, Colorado. A.M. Puett Reservoir was originally constructed in 1905 and then reconstructed in 1960. It covers 163 surface acres when full and is owned and operated by the Summit Reservoir and Irrigation Company. Water stored in A.M. Puett Reservoir must first be delivered into and pass through Summit Reservoir. Summit Ditch diverts water from Lost Canyon Creek and delivers it directly for irrigation and/or storage in Summit Reservoir. The ditch is also used to divert storage water pursuant to the storage rights decreed to Summit and A. M. Puett reservoirs. It is the general practice of the Summit Reservoir Company to first fill the A.M. Puett Reservoir, followed by filling Summit Reservoir. After the reservoirs are filled, the direct flow water is delivered directly to irrigation in their system. Later in the summer months, the stored water is released for irrigation.
December
Rampart Reservoir
Rampart Reservoir is located 12 miles northwest of Colorado Springs, Colorado within the Pike National Forest. Rampart Reservoir holds water that is delivered from Homestake Reservoir, which is located northwest of Leadville. The water from Homestake Reservoir is delivered by a tunnel to Turquoise Reservoir. When the water is released from Turquoise Reservoir it is pumped up 750 feet through the Mosquito Mountains where it is delivered to the South Platte River Basin. That water is then stored in Montgomery Reservoir located near Alma, Colorado where it is ultimately piped to Rampart Reservoir. Rampart Reservoir is a 500 surface-acre lake which was completed in 1969. This water supplies 70% of the domestic drinking water for the City of Colorado Springs. The reservoir is a popular recreation area for boaters, mountain bikers and hikers.