Eagle County water providers look at Bolts Lake renewal — The #Vail Daily #EagleRiver #ColoradoRiver #COriver #ariification

Mountains reflect off of Bolts Lake, back in the day, as seen from US 24 S in Colorado. Photo via

From The Vail Daily (Scott Miller):

Possible reservoir a key element of [water] providers’ long-term plans

The Eagle River Water & Sanitation District and the Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority — separate entities that share offices — is looking at a possible plan to create a reservoir on the lake site just south of Minturn. The plan, if it comes to pass, could take 10 years to complete, at a still-unknown cost.

The water providers currently have a purchase contract for the lake site with the Battle North LLC, which owns the property, and has for some time envisioned housing near the site.

During the contract period — about 12 months — the district and authority will conduct feasibility studies for the lake.

District Director of Engineering and Water Resources Jason Cowles said that work will include soils testing and other evaluation. If the evaluation provides the right answers, the water providers will buy the site and get to work.

The current idea is to roughly triple the size of the old lake by digging down about 30 feet from the current empty lake bottom. That would keep the size of the new dam reasonable. The old dam was breached in the early 1990s for safety reasons. In addition, digging that much material would provide plenty of clean fill dirt to use for other purposes, including capping tailings from the Eagle Mine.

A near-perfect site

Eagle River Water & Sanitation District General Manager Linn Brooks said if the evaluation bears fruit, Bolts Lake is a nearly-perfect site for a reservoir.

The site is on private land, is the right size and is off the main channel of the Eagle River, Brooks said, adding that the environmental impacts would be minimal…

The upper valley’s water providers have long been looking for more water storage within the Eagle River basin. The providers get most of their water from streamflows…

Since the Bolts Lake reservoir wouldn’t take water directly from the river, Brooks said the reservoir would still keep streamflows whole. And, like the providers’ other reservoirs, the water would be used to augment streamflows in the river, which helps river health.

In an email, Tim McGuire of Battle North wrote that the company is excited to work with the water providers on the project.

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