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 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. 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
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 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.
Although the project is substantially completed, final completion of the project will be achieved in
2000. A small campground which was 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.