Commissioners OK expansion of Old Dillon Reservoir Tuesday |

Commissioners OK expansion of Old Dillon Reservoir Tuesday

Julie Sutor
summit daily news

SUMMIT COUNTY – The Summit Board of County Commissioners voted Tuesday to approve an expansion of Old Dillon Reservoir, located on U.S. Forest Service land between the Dillon Dam Road and Interstate 70.

The proposed expansion would enlarge Old Dillon Reservoir’s capacity from 62 acre-feet to 286 acre-feet by raising its north and south dams. The $7 million project would create new water-storage and water-supply capacity for the town of Dillon, the town of Silverthorne and unincorporated Summit County. All three entities project that demand for municipal water in their respective service areas will increase in coming years.

Old Dillon Reservoir was originally constructed in 1936 as a water-supply source for Dillon. The 14-acre reservoir is fed by water diverted from Salt Lick Gulch, just to its north. Salt Lick Gulch is a tributary of the lower Blue River.

In 1963, Denver Water constructed the new Dillon Reservoir to supply drinking water to Denver, requiring the town of Dillon to relocate from its original location to its current one.

Since the move, Dillon has been unable to use the water in Old Dillon Reservoir, but the town has maintained the reservoir and the water rights to it.

In the spring of 2008, a culvert carrying water from Old Dillon Reservoir failed under Interstate-70’s westbound lanes, causing a portion of the highway to collapse. The culvert was replaced, but the Colorado Division of Water Resources ordered the Town of Dillon to drain the reservoir over concern for safety of its north dam.

The reservoir is to remain drained until either the proposed expansion is conducted or the Town of Dillon reconstructs the north dam.

Dillon’s current water supply is Straight Creek, which runs through Dillon Valley.

The proposed project would direct water from Old Dillon Reservoir into Dillon Reservoir, giving Dillon access to the larger reservoir, should Straight Creek become contaminated or unusable.

The commissioners’ approval covered land use and environmental impacts of the project. Further approvals will be required from the Forest Service and the county before construction can begin.

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