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. Releases from the reservoir supplement
Clear Creek flow when the direct flow cannot fulfill Buffalo's water
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. 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 final
design was 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. Although the project
is substantially completed, final completion of the project will be
achieved in 2000. A small campground which will be inundated by the new
reservoir was replaced by the Forest Service in 1999.
The town has an opportunity to exchange land with the U.S. Forest Service.
The reservoir site is owned by the U.S. Forest Service. The town is
acquiring private property contiguous to the national forest. The Forest
Service has expressed an interest in this property. If the exchange is
finalized, the town will no longer be required to obtain a special use
permit from the U.S. Forest Service. The costs for special use permits
have been escalating in recent years because they are now tied to the
value of the property. Issues involving access to the property to be
exchanged with the Forest Service remain to be worked out.
RECOMMENDED LEGISLATIVE ACTION:
No legislative action is required on this project.