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Maintenance work at Horsetooth Reservoir planned for Fall 2020

Released on Monday, August 17, 2020
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Crews from Northern Water and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation plan to perform a maintenance project at Soldier Canyon Dam this fall. Because of that work, water levels in Horsetooth Reservoir will decline to levels not seen in several years by the end of the summer.

There will be minimal to no impacts to recreational activities at the reservoir, including fishing, camping, hiking, and the use of hand-launched watercraft. Current operational plans show all boat ramps will be available through the end of September. Boat ramp open status is updated regularly via the Larimer County Natural Resources website, Horsetooth Reservoir page.

Soldier Canyon Dam is one of four dams that holds back Horsetooth Reservoir. Located northwest of Fort Collins, the dam also provides deliveries of Colorado-Big Thompson Project water held within the reservoir to water treatment plants for the Fort Collins Utilities and surrounding water districts that lie at the base of the dam, and to other Colorado-Big Thompson Project water users. These water users will benefit from the planned maintenance activities.

Some of that activity will require work in Horsetooth Reservoir itself. Because of that, water levels will need to be lowered to where workers will be able to accomplish their tasks safely.

Through the rest of the summer, water will be released to municipal, industrial and agricultural users as normal, but flows into the reservoir will be halted. Staff predicts normal releases of reservoir water will meet the needs of users while also bringing the reservoir to a safe level for the maintenance work, which will start in October. Following the completion of the work in November, inflows will resume to the reservoir with the anticipation of normal operations in 2021.

Horsetooth Reservoir, the largest East Slope reservoir in the Colorado-Big Thompson Project, was built in the late 1940s and has been storing and releasing water since 1951. Over those 70 years, the reservoir levels have been lowered periodically for maintenance work.