Dillon seeks to nail down H20 funds
DILLON – To firm up a $1.5 million loan for the expansion of the Old Dillon Reservoir, the Dillon Town Council will likely pass an emergency ordinance at its next meeting July 7. Dillon’s town staff seeks to secure substantial funds from the Colorado Water Conservation Board for a project that will create water reserves for Dillon, Silverthorne and unincorporated Summit County. “We want to nail (the loan) down,” said Devin Granbery, Dillon’s town manager, noting that an emergency ordinance would put the financial agreement into effect right away.The town is moving quickly to access the loan because Granbery said he’s unsure if more money will be available for water projects in the near future.”The state reallocated a lot of the funds due to a budget crunch,” he said. While Dillon sought a loan to pay for 90 percent of its portion of the expansion, Silverthorne and the county plan to pay for the project with reserved internal funds. Dillon will pay the remainder of its costs through its water fund.In all, Dillon must pay $1.7 million. The total cost estimate for the expansion is $6.3 million, and it will be shared proportionately between the three entities.The project will include reservoir enlargement, associated improvements, wetlands mitigation and rehabilitation of outlets to the reservoir. The U.S. Forest Service is still reviewing the project’s permit application – the reservoir is located on Forest Service land – and project bids could go out later this year if it’s approved. Construction is slated for 2010.
Old Dillon Reservoir, located between the Dam Road and Interstate 70, was built between 1936-1939 to supply water to Dillon at its original location. Since the town moved to its current site in the early 1960s, the reservoir has been used mostly for recreation. Additional water supplies created by a reservoir expansion will accommodate population growth, as well as create an alternative supply of drinking water if the Straight Creek drainage area – Dillon’s major water source – is polluted by a catastrophic wildfire, Granbery said.In 2008, the reservoir was drained over safety concerns and it will remain empty until the expansion is approved – “It’s a puddle,” Granbery said.A survey was done of the area after it was drained and results pointed to the reservoir actually being bigger than originally thought, said Gary Martinez, Summit County manager. The reservoir, when full, holds 62 acre feet of water. Originally, it was thought to hold 46 acre feet.According to a Colorado Water Conservation Board memo, the expansion would increase the reservoir’s water capacity to about 286 acre feet by increasing the height of two dams.Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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