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CPW Dam Safety
CPW Dam Safety
Williams Creek Dam, Hinsdale County

With over 115 dams, CPW owns and operates the largest inventory of dams in the state of Colorado. The water impounded is used for purposes such as downstream irrigation, fisheries management and aquatic operations, and a multitude of recreational activities including fishing, boating and swimming.


Public Safety is Our First Priority

Public infrastructure and population centers are often located downstream, which increases the likelihood of devastating consequences in the event of a dam failure. Maintenance and rehabilitation of CPW’s dams is of paramount importance to CPW.


Identifying Upcoming Dam Repairs and Maintenance

In 2014, CPW undertook a Screening Level Risk Analysis (SLRA) to provide an overview of the condition of CPW dams and develop a repair and rehabilitation priority list. Since that time, CPW has made extensive progress on achieving those necessary improvements. The next conditional assessment and prioritization list will be developed through our planned effort to update an enhance the SLRA in 2022.


Funding Dam Repairs and Maintenance

The current repairs and maintenance cost estimate for all of CPW’s dams is approximately $120.7 million. Since 2014, CPW has allocated over $71.5 million for this work and approximately $49.2 million in funding needs remain. Most of the cost will be incurred by the Wildlife side of the Agency, as the majority of our dams are Wildlife-owned.


Progress on Dam Repairs and Maintenance

  • Repair and rehabilitation construction was performed on five dams in 2021: 
    • Chief Creek Dam #4 (outlet rehabilitation completed)
    • Deer Lakes Dam #4 (spillway repair completed)
    • North Michigan Creek Dam (full rehabilitation substantially completed)
    • Spring Creek Dam (outlet rehabilitation substantially completed)
    • Two Buttes Dam (gate replacement substantially completed)

  • Repair and rehabilitation construction for three dams is anticipated to be completed in 2022: 
    • North Michigan Creek Dam (final completion)
    • Spring Creek Dam (final completion)
    • Two Buttes Dam (construction of intake tower)
      Subsurface investigation at Meadow Creek Dam, Garfield County
  • Completed engineering studies in 2021 include: Alberta Park Dam Alternatives Analysis, Black Lakes Dam #2 Hydrology Study, Heart Lake Dam Automated Data Acquisition System, InSAR Monitoring Evaluation, Miramonte Dam Potential Failure Modes Analysis, Miramonte Dam Screening Level Hydrologic Hazard Analysis, Rito Hondo Dam Geotechnical and Hydrology Studies, Rito Hondo Dam Potential Failure Modes Analysis, Skaguay Dam Hazard Classification Study, Statewide Dam Safety Vegetation Management Guidelines, Tarryall Dam Rehabilitation Alternatives Analysis, Two Buttes Dam Hydrology Study, Upper Elk Falls Dam Rehabilitation Alternatives Analysis, Williams Creek Dam Hydrologic Hazard Analysis

  • Engineering studies or design is ongoing and/or beginning in 2022 for: Alberta Park Dam, Garnet Mesa Dam (Sweitzer Lake), Lake Christine Dam, Meadow Creek Dam, Regional Emergency Preparedness Services, Risk-Informed Prioritization of CPW's Inventory of High and Significant Hazard Dams, Rito Hondo Dam, Statewide Hydrology Studies, Statewide Outlet Rehabilitation Designs, Tarryall Dam, and Upper Highline Dam (Highline Lake). Please see Upcoming Projects below for more information. 

  • Ongoing work continues for smaller-scale projects involving dam maintenance, improvements, and engineering studies.

CPW Dam Safety is always busy making our dams safer!  If you would like to track upcoming opportunities to partner with us, please check out our annual release of Upcoming Projects.


For more information on the CPW Dam Safety Program, see our Dam Safety Fact Sheet.