Georgetown Lake Outlet Improvements

Georgetown, Colorado

The Georgetown Lake Outlet Improvement project increased the outlet capacity of the Georgetown Lake dam. Georgetown Lake was reconstructed in 1971 following two flooding events that breached the embankment. Since reconstruction, the dam has operated with the reservoir at the spillway elevation for recreational purposes. During the recent drought years, the owners realized that the original outlet could not meet the demand by senior downstream water users and store water for use by the owners at the same time. To solve the demand problems, the outlet capacity was tripled.

Due to the project location and constraints, the project required innovative solutions. Rainstorms in the upper Clear Creek basin result in changes in the water level of the reservoir that historically would result in out of priority storage. The new design allows the dam to pass storm flows without increasing the storage volume of the reservoir or requiring a complicated release protocol. The innovative solution allowed the owners to meet the demands with costs savings of nearly 50% of the original estimates for a more traditional design.

Engineering Analytics developed and evaluated alternatives, coordinated with the owners and stakeholders, developed final design plans, obtained approval from the SEO dam safety branch, obtained 404 clearance, conducted construction inspections, responded to requests for information, reviewed construction submittals, and obtained final SEO Dam Safety Branch approvals. Following the selection of the preferred alternative, the final design was conducted and construction began in August 2014. Construction was completed in March 2015. The gate is currently in operation to the satisfaction of the owners and downstream water users. The newly designed and constructed Georgetown Lake Outlet sets a new standard for meeting streamflow, recreational, and water storage demands for dam owners and water users.

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