The Buffalo Municipal Reservoir Project involves development of a
municipal supply storage reservoir in the Clear Creek Basin west of
Buffalo. Buffalo's existing water supply is diverted from Clear Creek
about six miles west of the city. After project completion, releases
from the reservoir will supplement Clear Creek flow when the direct flow
cannot fulfill Buffalo's water supply requirements.
The Level II - Phase I report was completed in March, 1989. The report
concluded that the preferred development option included a dam and
reservoir at the Lower Tie Hack site on South Clear Creek, a tributary
of Clear Creek. The recommended reservoir size is 2425 acre feet and
the estimated cost of the dam and reservoir was $10,650,000. In
addition, the report indicated that installation of a $975,000
hydropower generation unit at the downstream end of the city's water
supply pipeline could be economically advantageous. The hydropower unit
is addressed as a separate project, but construction of both components
is required if the total project is to be economically feasible. The
report also noted that the feasibility of the project would depend on
the successful transfer of Buffalo's existing 1933 filing for 1640 acre
feet from Little Sourdough Creek to the dam site. This transfer was
accomplished in 1990.
In 1992, the WWDC and city completed the project agreement, note and
mortgage needed before the city could access project funds. The city
has negotiated the necessary agreements with the Big Horn National
Forest relative to the completion of the environmental impact statement.
The Final Environmental Impact Statement has been published and no
protests have been received. The final design has been completed and
construction bids were opened and reviewed in January, 1996. The Forest
Service special use permit was issued on February 23, 1996, and the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers 404 permit was issued on March 5, 1996.
Construction commenced in April, 1996, with substantial completion
reached in November, 1997. The project budget has been impacted due to
the excessive excavation required to reach a suitable dam foundation
RECOMMENDED LEGISLATIVE ACTION:
The WWDC recommends that the project appropriation be increased from
$13,100,000 to $13,600,000 or a $500,000 addition. The financing plan
would remain a 67% grant and a 33% loan with an interest rate of 4% and a
term of 50 years. In addition, loan payments would be deferred for a
period of 5 years.