The US Bureau of Reclamation has announced the commencement of repairs at the Pole Hill Powerplant, located west of Carter Lake in Larimer County in Colorado, US. The repairs, slated to take place from January through March 2024, are aimed at addressing issues with a concrete structure in the afterbay area of the facility.

Following inspections conducted in December, the need for repairs became evident, prompting the temporary suspension of operations at both the Pole Hill and Flatiron Powerplants. As a consequence, users of Pinewood Reservoir are expected to witness notably reduced water levels.

The impact of these repairs extends beyond Pinewood Reservoir. Carter Lake’s water levels are projected to decrease by approximately 9ft, with a further drop of 2-3ft anticipated at Horsetooth Reservoir. Currently, Carter Lake and Horsetooth Reservoir are at 72% and 69% capacity, respectively.

Jeff Rieker, Reclamation Eastern Colorado Area Manager, emphasized the agency’s commitment to restoring functionality to the Colorado-Big Thompson Project as swiftly as possible. “Reclamation understands the importance of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project to users of water and power in Northeastern Colorado,” stated Rieker.

The Pole Hill Powerplant, operational since 1954, plays a crucial role in supplying electricity to approximately 19,000 households annually. It is one of six powerplants managed by the Bureau of Reclamation within the Colorado-Big Thompson Project.

The Colorado-Big Thompson Project facilitates the storage, regulation, and diversion of water from the Colorado River to support irrigation across 615,000 acres east of the Rocky Mountains. Additionally, it supplements municipal and industrial water supplies and provides recreational opportunities for over a million residents in Northeastern Colorado. Furthermore, it contributes to the electricity needs of nearly 68,000 households.

Following repairs, the eastern arm of the Colorado-Big Thompson power and conveyance system is expected to resume operation by April 2024.