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Dam Maintenance
Dam Maintenance

Tarryall Dam in Park County

CPW owns and operates the largest inventory of dams in the state of Colorado and the water impounded is used for downstream irrigation, fish hatcheries’ 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 115 dams is of paramount importance to CPW.
  • In 2016, CPW was awarded the National Rehabilitation Project of the Year by the Association of State Safety Officers for its rehabilitation work on Beaver Park Dam. 

Identifying At-Risk Dams

In 2014, CPW undertook a Screening Level Risk Analysis (SLRA) to provide an overview of its at-risk dams and developed a repair and renovate priority list. 

  • 11 dams were identified as "highest risk" based largely on the potential loss of life and risks to environmental and recreational resources in a failure.
  • 18 of the dams were identified as “high hazard” condition, with a loss of human life expected in the event of dam failure.  
  • 16 dams are considered “significant hazards,” with major property damage expected in the event of failure. 
  • Since the release of the SLRA’s findings, 3 additional dams have been added to this list when routine safety inspections revealed conditions that surpassed an acceptable level of risk. 
  • The average age of the 34 highest risk dams is 71 years old, with six of them over 100 years old.

Funding Dam Repairs

Between 2016 and 2019, CPW committed:

  •  $29.5 million to rehabilitate high-risk dams.
  • $4.3 million for less critical risk dam maintenance.
  • $800,000 for other less critical risk dam improvements, reducing the repair backlog.

Planning and Work on Dams Begins

  • Work on three dams -- Willow Creek, Sylvan Lake and Beaver Park -- has been or will be completed in 2019. 
  • Initial work on outlet structures has been completed at Trujillo Meadows and Rito Hondo, and further work will be performed in upcoming phases.  
  • Four dams are in the midst of design or alternative options studies -- Tarryall, Alberta Park, Haviland and Chief Creek #4.  
For more information, see the dam safety fact sheet.